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The Ethics of ProtocellsMoral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory$
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Mark A. Bedau and Emily C. Parke

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262012621

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.001.0001

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Second Life: Some Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology and the Recapitulation of Evolution

Second Life: Some Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology and the Recapitulation of Evolution

Chapter:
(p.143) 9 Second Life: Some Ethical Issues in Synthetic Biology and the Recapitulation of Evolution
Source:
The Ethics of Protocells
Author(s):

Laurie Zoloth

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.003.0009

This chapter argues that asking about life’s origins uncovers intriguing questions about chance, meaning and order, and allows a rather startling discourse about the nature of knowledge in a world with physical realities and enduring cultural narratives. It addresses some of the many ethical issues engaged in synthetic biology and its emerging community of basic research scientists. It describes how the design of an artificial, self-organizing, evolving cellular environment may cross the border between things that are nonliving and things that are living. This chapter suggests that the main goal of ethics is a stance of deeply informed and thorough attention, rather than calls for moratoria or cessation of activities.

Keywords:   synthetic biology, ethical issues, nonliving things, living things, ethics, life’s origins, cultural narratives

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