Sunday, 27 July 2008

On the assembly of things: ramifying synthetic biology & nanotechnology

I have to rush this morning, so thought I'd briefly mention this engagement with topics I referred to earlier in a post on Gregor Wolbring. In this case though it is the renowned Foucauldian scholar Paul Rabinow and his associates, who not only link to resources on "nanotech & society", but also clarify their own approach in these terms:
"It explores “human practices”: the ethics and ontology of these two domains beyond the standard models of social implications, ELSI, or so-called Mode 2 Knowledge production....Ethics:We hold that bio-ethics, as frequently positioned in official settings, undervalues the extent to which ethics and science can play a mutually formative role.Although such work remains valuable for work on the problems it was constructed to deal with. Emergent things require new equipment. Such equipment is designed to contribute to a “flourishing existence” (eudaemonia). Eudaemonia should not be confused with technical optimization, as capacities are not already known.The question of what constitutes a good life today, and the contribution of the bio-sciences to that form of life must be posed and re-posed. We are persuaded that within collaborative structures biology, ethics and anthropology can orient practice to the flourishing as both telos and mode of operation."
What I'd like to be able to clarify then, as soon as possible, is the extent of the telling differences of this focus from Wolbring's work on "ableism" and Steve Fuller's on nanotechnology (previously referenced on this blog). I may get a chance to do so soon as Gregor has invited me to comment on his stuff, and Steve has asked if I'm interested in interviewing him about his new book on Intelligent Design and then posting it on this blog. I've got a lot of other things to get through next week as well, so I hope all of this can start to come together.

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