Science and Engineering Ethics 8 (4):497-511 (2002)

Hugh Lacey
Swarthmore College
In the current controversy about the value of transgenic crops, matters open to empirical inquiry are centrally at issue. One such matter is a key premise in a common argument (that I summarize) that transgenic crops should be considered to have universal value. The premise is that there are no alternative forms of agriculture available to enable the production of sufficient food to feed the world. The proponents of agroecology challenge it, claiming that agroecology provides an alternative, and they deny the claim that it is well founded on empirical evidence. It is, therefore, a matter of both social and scientific importance that this premise and the criticisms of it be investigated rigorously and empirically, so that the benefits and disadvantages of transgenic-intensive agriculture and agroecology can be compared in a reliable way. Conducting adequate investigation about the potential contribution of agroecology requires that the cultural conditions of its practice (and, thus, of the practices and movements of small-scale farmers in the “third world”) be strengthened—and this puts the interests of investigation into tension with the socio-economic interests driving the development of transgenics. General issues about relationship between ethical argument and empirical (scientific) investigation are raised throughout the article.
Keywords transgenics  agroecology  science  values  ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-002-0003-8
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References found in this work BETA

Incommensurability and “Multicultural Science”.Hugh Lacey - 2001 - In Paul Hoyningen-Huene & Howard Sankey (eds.), Incommensurability and Related Matters. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 225--239.
Genetic Engineering.[author unknown] - 2000 - Business Ethics: The Magazine of Corporate Responsibility 14 (2):22-22.

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Epistemological Depth in a GM Crops Controversy.Daniel Hicks - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 50:1-12.
Genetically Modified Crops, Inclusion, and Democracy.Daniel J. Hicks - 2017 - Perspectives on Science 25 (4):488-520.

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