Ethics, Policy and Environment 22 (1):61-71 (2019)

Sune Holm
University of Copenhagen
ABSTRACTAccording to Bedau and Triant decision-makers will be substantially ignorant about the consequences of their candidate choices when making decisions about synthetic biology. Bedau and Triant characterize decisions under such circumstances as decisions in the dark. They then argue that when making decisions in the dark, decision-makers should not appeal to the Precautionary Principle because this principle does not sufficiently accommodate important features of ‘deciding and acting virtuously’. In the paper, I point out that it is unclear how to understand the virtue-based approach in the regulatory context of synthetic biology. I then argue that Daniel Steel’s tripod interpretation of the Precautionary Principle provides a strong response to the problem of incoherence, which I suggest is at the heart of the criticism raised by Bedau and Triant. Finally, I raise a worry that incoherence problems may still crop up within the framework of Steel’s account.
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DOI 10.1080/21550085.2019.1581419
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On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.

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