Chapter

The Recombinant DNA Debate

Stephen Stich

in Collected Papers, Volume 2

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199733477
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949823 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199733477.003.0001
The Recombinant DNA Debate

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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

Chapter.  7439 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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