Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry

Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry

Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry

Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry

Synopsis

'It's all in the genes'. Is this true, and if so, what is all in the genes? Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is a crystal clear and highly informative guide to a debate none of us can afford to ignore.Beginning with a much-needed overview of the relationship between science and technology, Gordon Graham lucidly explains and assesses the most important and controversial aspects of the genes debate: Darwinian theory and its critics, the idea of the 'selfish' gene, evolutionary psychology, memes, genetic screening and modification, including the risks of cloning and 'designer' babies.He considers areas often left out of the genes debate, such as the environmental risks of genetic engineering and how we should think about genes in the wider context of debates on science, knowledge and religion. Gordon Graham asks whether genetic engineering might be introducing God back into the debate and whether the risks of a brave new genetic world outweigh the potential benefits.Essential reading for anyone interested in science, technology, and philosophy, Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is ideal for those wanting to find out more about the ethical implications of genetics and the future of biotechnology.

Excerpt

'It's all in the genes.' One hundred years ago, this little sentence would have been meaningless. Today it has almost the character of a commonplace. And that is why it is important to ask: is it true? As soon as we begin to wonder whether it is true, it becomes clear that some clarification is needed. What's all in the genes? And what does it mean to say that it's all in the genes? As I hope this short book will show, seeking this clarification quickly takes us into issues that are both important and topical. These include not just the familiar debate between evolutionary biology and its critics, the significance of the genome project, or the real prospects for genetic engineering - GMOs, cloning and the like - but also the much wider questions of science, enlightenment and religion, their nature and their place in society. In short, my purpose is not just to ask whether the sentence is true, but to investigate what its truth (or falsity) means for us as human beings.

The perspective I bring to these questions is that of Western philosophy. This enables me, I hope, to stand above the fray, at least to some degree, and especially the fray between science and religion. If it helps to state my attitude from the outset let me say that I am equally unsympathetic to creationism and to any rabidly anti-reli-gious scientism. But whatever my personal sympathies, my chief purpose is to reason with enough detachment to contribute

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