Sune Holm
University of Copenhagen
Russell Powell
Boston University
Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that aims to apply rational engineering principles in the design and creation of organisms that are exquisitely tailored to human ends. The creation of artificial life raises conceptual, methodological and normative challenges that are ripe for philosophical investigation. This special issue examines the defining concepts and methods of synthetic biology, details the contours of the organism–artifact distinction, situates the products of synthetic biology vis-à-vis this conceptual typology and against historical human manipulation of the living world, and explores the normative implications of these conclusions. In addressing the challenges posed by emerging biotechnologies, new light can be thrown on old problems in the philosophy of biology, such as the nature of the organism, the structure of biological teleology, the utility of engineering metaphors and methods in biological science, and humankind’s relationship to nature
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.05.009
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Synthetic Biology and the Ethics of Knowledge.T. Douglas & J. Savulescu - 2010 - Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (11):687-693.

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