Biopower, Styles of Reasoning, and What's Still Missing from the Stem Cell Debates

Hypatia 25 (3):577 - 609 (2010)
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Abstract

Until now, philosophical debate about human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has largely been limited to its ethical dimensions and implications. Although the importance and urgency of these ethical debates should not be underestimated, the almost undivided attention that mainstream and feminist philosophers have paid to the ethical dimensions of hESC research suggests that the only philosophically interesting questions and concerns about it are by and large ethical in nature. My argument goes some distance to challenge the assumption that ethical considerations alone must be foregrounded in philosophical discussions about hESC research by introducing a critical stance on the epistemological and ontological assumptions that underlie and condition it. A central aim of the paper is to show how Foucault's insights into knowledge-power, taken in combination with Hacking's claims about styles of reasoning, can make these assumptions evident, as well as cast light on their potentially deleterious implications for disabled people. Arguing in this way also enables me to draw out constitutive effects of research on stem cells, that is, to indicate how the discursive practices surrounding research on stem cells, as well as the technology itself, contribute to the constitution of impairment.

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Citations of this work

Feminist Philosophy of Disability: A Genealogical Intervention.Shelley L. Tremain - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (1):132-158.
Knowing Disability, Differently.Shelley L. Tremain - forthcoming - In Ian James Kidd, Jose Medina & Pohlhaus Jr (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice. Routledge.
Educating Jouy.Shelley Tremain - 2013 - Hypatia 28 (2):801-817.
Philosophy of Disability as Critical Diversity Studies.Shelley Tremain - 2018 - International Journal of Critical Diversity Studies 1 (1).

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References found in this work

Health as a theoretical concept.Christopher Boorse - 1977 - Philosophy of Science 44 (4):542-573.
The taming of chance.Ian Hacking - 1990 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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