This paper examines the “biotechnology problem” in the history of molecular biology, namely the alleged reinvention of a basic academic discipline looking for the logic of life, into a typical technoscientific enterprise, closely related to agriculture, medicine, and the construction of markets. The dominant STS model sees the roots of this shift in a radical change of the regime of knowledge production. The paper argues that this scheme needs to be historicized to take into account the past in our biotech present. Looking at the development of breast cancer genetic testing and GMOs as examples of mounting issues of intellectual property, risk and regulation, the paper also argues that historians of biology should pay closer attention to the political, the economical and the legal changes of the last thirty years. Solving the biotech problem requires new categories. The notion of “way of regulating” is given as an example of such notions linking the local and the global
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsc.2008.12.004
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,548
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

A History of Molecular Biology.Michel Morange & Matthew Cobb - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (3):568-570.
Better Prepared Than Synthesized: Adolf Butenandt, Schering Ag and the Transformation of Sex Steroids Into Drugs (1930–1946). [REVIEW]Jean-Paul Gaudillière - 2005 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 36 (4):612-644.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Naturalists, Molecular Biologists, and the Challenges of Molecular Evolution.Joel B. Hagen - 1999 - Journal of the History of Biology 32 (2):321 - 341.
Old Bottles and New Wine.Norman J. Wells - 1979 - New Scholasticism 53 (4):515-523.
Old Wine in New Bottles.Richard Lawson - 1928 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):297 – 299.
Unger's Defense of Skepticism: New Wine in Old Bottles.Shane Andre - 1982 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 12 (3):453 - 465.
National Politics and International Trends: EMBO and the Making of Molecular Biology in Spain (1960-1975).J. M. - 2002 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 33 (3):473-487.
Notes on Decision Theory: Old Wine in New Bottles.Jordan Howard Sobel - 1986 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (4):407 – 437.
Who’s Afraid of Gory Details?Sun Kyeong Yu - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 43:215-223.


Added to PP index

Total views
53 ( #179,764 of 2,348,447 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #511,012 of 2,348,447 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes