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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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Open Evolution and Human Agency: The Pragmatics of Upstream Ethics in the Design of Artificial Life

Open Evolution and Human Agency: The Pragmatics of Upstream Ethics in the Design of Artificial Life

Chapter:
(p.223) 13 Open Evolution and Human Agency: The Pragmatics of Upstream Ethics in the Design of Artificial Life
Source:
The Ethics of Protocells
Author(s):

George Khushf

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262012621.003.0013

This chapter argues that ethical reflection must be an integral part of the development of protocell science and technology. It presents a representative example of a body of research in artificial life connected with the design of a self-assembling membrane, and shows how this new, hybrid science undermines the conditions for a traditional post hoc, downstream mode of ethical reflection. This chapter shows that traditional ethical analysis is closely intertwined with a specific view of science and technology. It suggests that upstream ethics cannot be viewed as a simple adjunct to science.

Keywords:   protocell, science and technology, artificial life, self-assembling membrane, hybrid science, traditional ethical analysis, upstream ethics, ethical reflection

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