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Collected Papers, Volume 2Knowledge, Rationality, and Morality, 1978-2010$
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Stephen Stich

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199733477

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.001.0001

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The Recombinant DNA Debate

The Recombinant DNA Debate

Chapter:
(p.22) 1 The Recombinant DNA Debate
Source:
Collected Papers, Volume 2
Author(s):

Stephen Stich

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.003.0001

This chapter attempts to sharpen our perception of the moral issues underlying the controversy over recombinant DNA research by clearing away some frivolous arguments that have deflected attention from more serious issues. It begins by considering three untenable arguments, each of which has surfaced with considerable frequency in the public debate over recombinant DNA research. The first argument concludes that recombinant DNA research should not be controlled or restricted. The second argument aims at establishing just the opposite conclusion from the first. The particular moral judgment being defended is that there should be a total ban on recombinant DNA research. The third argument provides a striking illustration of how important it is, in normative thinking, to make clear the moral principles being invoked. The argument begins with a factual claim about recombinant DNA research and concludes that stringent restrictions, perhaps even a moratorium, should be imposed. The chapter then discusses the risk and benefits of DNA research.

Keywords:   recombinant DNA research, moral judgment moral principles, risks, benefits

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