Rabinow’s description of the unique collaborative goal of synthetic biology at Berkeley, to foster a coproduction among multiple disciplines and perspectives from the outset (as opposed to downstream reflection upon ethical, legal, and social implications), is somewhat misleading. While that particular assemblage is represented as coproductive, the inevitability of science as a coproduction is eclipsed. That shortcoming may well be a strategic compromise to ensure effective collaboration, but it could backfire. Idealized images of science, which might be termed synthetic or artificial, have had adverse consequences in legal and administrative assessments of reliable science.
Science and Technology
Date of this Version
David S. Caudill, "Synthetic Science: A Response to Rabinow" (October 2009). Villanova University School of Law Working Paper Series. Working Paper 141.