'It's all in the genes'. Is this true, and if so, what is all in the genes? Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is a crystal clear and highly informative guide to a debate none of us can afford to ignore. Beginning with a much-needed overview of the relationship between science and technology, Gordon Graham lucidly explains and assesses the most important and controversial aspects of the genes debate: Darwinian theory and its critics, the idea of the 'selfish' gene, evolutionary psychology, memes, genetic screening and modification, including the risks of cloning and 'designer' babies. He considers areas often left out of the genes debate, such as the environmental risks of genetic engineering and how we should think about genes in the wider context of debates on science, knowledge and religion. Gordon Graham asks whether genetic engineering might be introducing God back into the debate and whether the risks of a brave new genetic world outweigh the potential benefits.
Essential reading for anyone interested in science, technology, and philosophy, Genes: A Philosophical Inquiry is ideal for those wanting to find out more about the ethical implications of genetics and the future of biotechnology.
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(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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UK Kirkus Review »
In this dense but accessible book, Gordon Graham describes the scientific, technological, social, moral and religious aspects of the debates about genetic engineering in an impressively even-handed way. He begins by introducing science and genetics in the context of the development of our society, demonstrating how scientific research and use of the resulting technology is shaped by collective ideas of morality; even in this so-called rational society religion and philosophy are still important influences on public opinion. Graham then summarizes our current state of knowledge with regard to genetics, explaining the differing theories of evolution and human behaviour and how they affect our moral judgement. The complexity of human behaviour is not strictly gene-driven, nor is genetic engineering the solution to all ills. But potentially it has great benefits, and Graham describes the various techniques of genetic manipulation - including cloning and designer babies - in terms of applications, costs and benefits. Moral questions are raised first as logical ones (If experimenting on babies is banned, why do we allow experiments to create babies?) and discussed in detail in the last chapter, 'Playing God'. These are complex issues and you need to be awake to keep up with the flow of ideas, but key quotes from leading writers and Graham's intelligent commentary guide the reader through the issues. This is a clear-headed introduction to the minefield of genetics which will enable anyone to take a critical look at the subject. It is well indexed and has a wide bibliography for further reading. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Gordon Graham
Gordon Graham is Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen and Director of the Aberdeen Centre for Philosophy, Technology and Science. He is also the author of Philosophy of the Arts (Routledge 1997) and The Shape of the Past (Oxford University Press 1997)