The tacit epistemology of the gmo debate: A case study [Book Review]

Axiomathes 19 (4):373-387 (2009)
Abstract
The issue of biotechnology has been chosen in the MIRRORS project in order to analyze the sometimes uneasy relationship between science and society. After analyzing the situation of biotechnology regarding the GMO debate in Spain, France and Italy during a previous MIRRORS Workshop (This MIRRORS Workshop is entitled European Policies and Knowledge Society, held in Catania on December 15th 2008, during the which the undersigned, Anna Benedetta Francese and Cinzia Rizza discussed three papers about this topic [see the MIRRORS website www.mirrors-project.it]), in this essay I have tried to tackle the relationship science–society, focalizing my attention on the epistemological and methodological problems behind the biotechnology debate that are often not clearly expressed, remaining mainly tacitly presupposed. I will take as a starting point some questions about the role of science in society and about the way science is used by policy makers in decision-making processes. These questions are fundamental in order to analyze (and possibly to propose salvation strategies) the existing problems of the relationship between science and society which has assumed, especially nowadays, more conflictual aspects. Our Research Team firmly holds that it is not possible to tackle this topic without an in-depth discussion of the most significant epistemological questions regarding research, discussions, and methods of biotechnology
Keywords Biotechnology  Bt maize  Reductionism  Complexity  Models  Molecular biology  Policy-maker  Science–society
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