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  1. The Evolution of Human Birth and Transhumanist Proposals of Enhancement.Eduardo R. Cruz - 2015 - Zygon 50 (4):830-853.
    Some transhumanists argue that we must engage with theories and facts about our evolutionary past in order to promote future enhancements of the human body. At the same time, they call our attention to the flawed character of evolution and argue that there is a mismatch between adaptation to ancestral environments and contemporary life. One important trait of our evolutionary past which should not be ignored, and yet may hinder the continued perfection of humankind, is the peculiarly human way of (...)
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  • Engineers of Life? A Critical Examination of the Concept of Life in the Debate on Synthetic Biology.Johannes Steizinger - 2016 - In Georg Toepfer & Margret Engelhard (eds.), : Ambivalences of Creating Life – Societal and Philosophical Dimensions of Synthetic Biology. Heidelberg: Springer. pp. 275−292.
    The concept of life plays a crucial role in the debate on synthetic biology. The first part of this chapter outlines the controversial debate on the status of the concept of life in current science and philosophy. Against this background, synthetic biology and the discourse on its scientific and societal consequences is revealed as an exception. Here, the concept of life is not only used as buzzword but also discussed theoretically and links the ethical aspects with the epistemological prerequisites and (...)
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  • Promoting Biodiversity.Christopher Gyngell & Julian Savulescu - 2017 - Philosophy and Technology 30 (4):413-426.
    Advances in biotechnology mean that it may soon be possible to recreate previously extinct species. This has led to an emerging debate within bioethics about whether we ought to reintroduce extinct species into our ecosystems. In this paper, we discuss the role that biodiversity could play in this debate. Many believe that biodiversity is a good that should be protected. We argue that if biodiversity is a good, then this suggests it should also be promoted, including by reintroducing previously extinct (...)
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  • Integrating Ethical Analysis “Into the DNA” of Synthetic Biology.Patrick Heavey - 2015 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 18 (1):121-127.
    Current ethical analysis tends to evaluate synthetic biology at an overview level. Synthetic biology, however, is an umbrella term that covers a variety of areas of research. These areas contain, in turn, a hierarchy of different research fields. This abstraction hierarchy—the term is borrowed from engineering—permits synthetic biologists to specialise to a very high degree. Though synthetic biology per se may create profound ethical challenges, much of the day-to-day research does not. Yet seemingly innocuous research could lead to ethically problematic (...)
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  • Psychopathy: Morally Incapacitated Persons.Heidi Maibom - 2017 - In Thomas Schramme & Steven Edwards (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 1109-1129.
    After describing the disorder of psychopathy, I examine the theories and the evidence concerning the psychopaths’ deficient moral capacities. I first examine whether or not psychopaths can pass tests of moral knowledge. Most of the evidence suggests that they can. If there is a lack of moral understanding, then it has to be due to an incapacity that affects not their declarative knowledge of moral norms, but their deeper understanding of them. I then examine two suggestions: it is their deficient (...)
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  • Synthetic Biology, Genome Editing, and the Risk of Bioterrorism.Marko Ahteensuu - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (6):1541-1561.
    The SynBioSecurity argument says that synthetic biology introduces new risks of intentional misuse of synthetic pathogens and that, therefore, there is a need for extra regulations and oversight. This paper provides an analysis of the argument, sets forth a new version of it, and identifies three developments that raise biosecurity risks compared to the situation earlier. The developments include a spread of the required know-how, improved availability of the techniques, instruments and biological parts, and new technical possibilities such as “resurrecting” (...)
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  • Research Translation and Emerging Health Technologies: Synthetic Biology and Beyond.Sarah Chan - 2018 - Health Care Analysis 26 (4):310-325.
    New health technologies are rapidly emerging from various areas of bioscience research, such as gene editing, regenerative medicine and synthetic biology. These technologies raise promising medical possibilities but also a range of ethical considerations. Apart from the issues involved in considering whether novel health technologies can or should become part of mainstream medical treatment once established, the process of research translation to develop such therapies itself entails particular ethical concerns. In this paper I use synthetic biology as an example of (...)
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  • Dual-Use Decision Making: Relational and Positional Issues.Nicholas G. Evans - 2014 - Monash Bioethics Review 32 (3-4):268-283.
    Debates about dual-use research often turn on the potential for scientific research to be used to benefit or harm humanity. This dual-use potential is conventionally understood as the product of the magnitude of the harms and benefits of dual-use research, multiplied by their likelihood. This account, however, neglects important social aspects of the use of science and technology. In this paper, I supplement existing conceptions of dual-use potential to account for the social context of dual-use research. This account incorporates relational (...)
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  • The Ethics of Disseminating Dual-Use Knowledge.Frida Kuhlau, Anna T. Höglund, Stefan Eriksson & Kathinka Evers - 2013 - Research Ethics 9 (1):6-19.
    In 2011, for the first time ever, two scientific journals were asked not to publish research papers in full detail. The research in question was on the H5N1 influenza virus (bird flu), and the concern was that the expected public health benefits of disseminating the findings did not outweigh the potential harm should the knowledge be misused for malicious purposes. This constraint raises important ethical concerns as it collides with scientific freedom and openness. In this article, we argue that constraining (...)
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  • Is There Anything Unique in the Ethics of Synthetic Biology?David Heyd - 2012 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):581-589.
    This article opens with a disclaimer: I am not a scientist, and the science of synthetic biology is beyond my comprehension. I am a philosopher and an ethicist interested in moral issues in reproductive medicine. In my past research I have raised theoretical questions about the normative constraints on the creation of human beings, especially in the context of the debates on genetic screening and genetic engineering, on both the individual level and the collective, namely that pertaining to the intervention (...)
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  • Whose Ethics of Knowledge? Taking the Next Step in Evaluating Knowledge in Synthetic Biology: A Response to Douglas and Savulescu.Robin L. Pierce - 2012 - Journal of Medical Ethics 38 (10):636-638.
    The recent proposal by Douglas and Savulescu for an ethics of knowledge provokes a renewed consideration of an enduring issue. Yet, the concept raises significant challenges for procedural and substantive justice. Indeed, the operationalisation of ‘an ethics of knowledge’ could be as alarming as what it seeks to prevent. While we can acknowledge that there is, and surely always will be, potential for misuse of beneficial science and technology, a contemplated conception of what we ought to not know, devise or (...)
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  • Disease, Dysfunction, and Synthetic Biology.Sune Holm - 2014 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (4):329-345.
    Theorists analyzing the concept of disease on the basis of the notion of dysfunction consider disease to be dysfunction requiring. More specifically, dysfunction-requiring theories of disease claim that for an individual to be diseased certain biological facts about it must be the case. Disease is not wholly a matter of evaluative attitudes. In this paper, I consider the dysfunction-requiring component of Wakefield’s hybrid account of disease in light of the artifactual organisms envisioned by current research in synthetic biology. In particular, (...)
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  • ¿Tiene futuro la vida sin pasado? El desdén de la evolución en biología sintética.Laura Nuño De La Rosa - 2016 - Isegoría 55:443.
    La biología sintética mantiene una relación muy singular con la teoría evolutiva: por un lado, parte de una interpretación ingenieril de la evolución para fundar su aproximación al diseño de bioartefactos; por otro, la biología sintética aspira, en última instancia, a deshacerse de la evolución creando organismos de novo que se comporten de un modo predecible. Tras examinar las tres grandes propiedades que aparecen recurrentemente en la descripción sintética de los nuevos artefactos orgánicos, argumentaré que la biología sintética se erige (...)
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  • Biological Interests, Normative Functions, and Synthetic Biology.Sune Holm - 2012 - Philosophy and Technology 25 (4):525-541.
    In this paper, I discuss the aetiological account of biological interests, developed by Varner, in the context of artefactual organisms envisioned by current research in synthetic biology. In “Sections 2–5”, I present Varner's theory and criticise it for being incapable of ascribing non-derivative interests to artefactual organisms due to their lack of a history of natural selection. In “Sections 6–7”, I develop a new alternative to Varner's account, building on the organisational theory of biological teleology and function. I argue that (...)
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  • Artificial Life and Ethics.Simon Huesken - 2014 - NanoEthics 8 (1):111-116.
    Reports of the successful creation of artificial life usually garner considerable interest from philosophers. This paper argues that the worries philosophers have about artificial life do not, for the most part, depend on the artificiality of a given organism. In particular advances in synthetic biology will make the distinction between artificial and natural life a difficult and fluid one. Philosophers should hence refrain from making their arguments depend on a distinction between artificial and natural life.
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  • Biología sintética: contexto jurídico y políticas públicas.Vicente Bellver Capella - 2016 - Isegoría 55:637.
    Este trabajo se plantea tres cuestiones dirigidas a mejorar las propuestas sobre la gobernanza y regulación de la biología sintética. En primer lugar, se refieren algunos de los hitos científicos que han jalonado su desarrollo y el modo en que han influido en los debates ciudadanos sobre ella. En segundo lugar, se trata del marco jurídico internacional, con el fin de indagar en los principios sobre los que se sustenta y debería sustentarse. Por último, se revisan críticamente los informes acerca (...)
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  • Is the Creation of Artificial Life Morally Significant?Thomas Douglas, Russell Powell & Julian Savulescu - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4b):688-696.
    In 2010, the Venter lab announced that it had created the first bacterium with an entirely synthetic genome. This was reported to be the first instance of ‘artificial life,’ and in the ethical and policy discussions that followed it was widely assumed that the creation of artificial life is in itself morally significant. We cast doubt on this assumption. First we offer an account of the creation of artificial life that distinguishes this from the derivation of organisms from existing life (...)
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  • Synthetic Biology Between Self-Regulation and Public Discourse: Ethical Issues and the Many Roles of the Ethicist.Gardar Arnason - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (2):246-256.
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  • Finding Hope in Synthetic Biology.Tuija Takala - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (2):239-245.
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  • The Bioethicist Who Cried “Synthetic Biology”: An Analysis of the Function of Bioterrorism Predictions in Bioethics.Søren Holm - 2017 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 26 (2):230-238.
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  • Organism, Machine, Artifact: The Conceptual and Normative Challenges of Synthetic Biology.Sune Holm & Russell Powell - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (4):627-631.
    Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that aims to apply rational engineering principles in the design and creation of organisms that are exquisitely tailored to human ends. The creation of artificial life raises conceptual, methodological and normative challenges that are ripe for philosophical investigation. This special issue examines the defining concepts and methods of synthetic biology, details the contours of the organism–artifact distinction, situates the products of synthetic biology vis-à-vis this conceptual typology and against historical human manipulation of the living (...)
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  • The Existing Guidance for “Dual-Use” Research.Gigi Kwik Gronvall - 2014 - Hastings Center Report 44 (S5):S34-S35.
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  • The Ethics of Synthetic Biology:Next Steps and Prior Questions.Gregory E. Kaebnick, Michael K. Gusmano & Thomas H. Murray - 2014 - Hastings Center Report 44 (S5):S4-S26.
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