New biotechnologies and the anthropological issue: philosophical aspects

Ivan Domingues


Taking previous research work into account, I intend to formulate the anthropological issue in the context of contemporary philosophy, as it has been challenged in the last decades by accomplishments of biomedicine, especially molecular genetics and bioengineering, in their medical applications and different uses with other aims. Particular attention is given to epistemic, ontological and ethical aspects, by emphasizing the capacity of different technologies, in the wake of the different equations of knowledge and power, to make and create things, authorizing philosophical speculations about the new demiurge and the geneticist “playing God”. From another perspective, with the powers of technology, especially of biotechnologies, the contemporary philosophical debate is marked by intense discussions about the dangers and the menaces caused by more radical and ambitious technologies, like CRISPR and transgenics. These debates give rise to proposals such as moratoria and stricter rules for bioproducts and biohackers, leading Chinese authorities to banish two geneticists who edited the HIV-immune twins. This is the more polemical and dramatic face of contemporary moral philosophy, whose foundations will be discussed in this paper and developed in further studies.

Keywords: Philosophy, genetics and bioengineering; philosophy and anthropological issue; epistemics, ontological and ethical aspects; biotechnologies, CRISPR and transgenics; demiurge and playing God; moral implications.

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