Standing Reserves of Function: A Heideggerian Reading of Synthetic Biology

Philosophy and Technology 25 (2):199-219 (2012)
Abstract
Synthetic biology, an emerging field of science and technology, intends to make of the natural world a substrate for engineering practice. Drawing inspiration from conventional engineering disciplines, practitioners of synthetic biology hope to make biological systems standardized, calculable, modular, and predictably functional. This essay develops a Heideggerian reading of synthetic biology as a useful perspective with which to identify and explore key facets of this field, its knowledge, its practices, and its products. After overviews of synthetic biology and Heidegger’s account of technology, I discuss calculability, utility, function, setting-upon, and ordering, with the aim of discussing the manner in which synthetic biology works to render the biological world intelligible as something to be used, rather than something that is in and of itself. Having developed this Heideggerian reading, I proffer a number of corrections to his account that enable a more accurate, nuanced understanding of synthetic biology. Specifically, I discuss the notion of Ge-stell and submit that multiple systems of “enframing” may help to make Heidegger’s argument more robust. I suggest that synthetic biology may work to reveal the natural world as a standing-reserve of function.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s13347-011-0053-4
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,106
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Introduction to Metaphysics.Martin Heidegger - 2000 - Yale University Press.
Poetry, Language, Thought.Martin Heidegger - 1971 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 31 (1):117-123.
Discourse on Thinking.Martin Heidegger - 1966 - New York: Harper & Row.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Ecological Innovation: Biomimicry as a New Way of Thinking and Acting Ecologically.Vincent Blok & Bart Gremmen - 2016 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (2):203-217.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Synthetic Biology: A Challenge to Mechanical Explanations in Biology?Michel Morange - 2012 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):543-553.
Editors' Introduction to Special Issue.Ute Deichmann, Michel Morange & Anthony S. Travis - 2012 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):470-472.
Synthetic Genomics and the Construction of a Synthetic Bacterial Cell.John I. Glass - 2012 - Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 55 (4):473-489.
Synthetic Biology and the Ethics of Knowledge.T. Douglas & J. Savulescu - 2010 - Journal of Medical Ethics 36 (11):687-693.
The Conception of Life in Synthetic Biology.Anna Deplazes-Zemp - 2012 - Science and Engineering Ethics 18 (4):757-774.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2011-11-04

Total downloads

32 ( #161,180 of 2,171,800 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #326,702 of 2,171,800 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums