Regulations Matter: Epistemic Monopoly, Domination, Patents, and the Public Interest

Philosophy and Technology (tba):1-26 (2021)
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This paper argues that regulatory agencies have a responsibility to further the public interest when they determine the conditions under which new technological products may be commercialized. As a case study, this paper analyzes the US 9th Circuit Court’s ruling on the efforts of the US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate an herbicide meant for use with seed that are genetically modified to be tolerant of the chemical. Using that case, it is argued that when regulatory agencies evaluate new technological products, they have an obligation to draw on data, analyses, and evaluations from a variety of credible epistemic sources, and not rely solely or even primarily on the technology developer. Otherwise, they create conditions for their own domination and that of the polity by the technology developer. Moreover, in the interest of advancing the public interest, regulatory agencies must evaluate new technologies in a substantively and procedurally unbiased manner.
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Archival date: 2021-09-20
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