Synthetische Biologie - Eine ethisch-philosophische Analyse [Synthetic Biology. An ethical-philosophical Analysis]
Contributions to Ethics and Biotechnology, Volume 5 (2009) - in German
Similar to physics and chemistry, the aim of synthetic biology is not only to analyse but also to create and recreate the objects it deals with. In this newly established field of research, the vision of creating new single-cell life forms opens up the technical possibilities of producing living things. This book investigates the possible consequences of our understanding of life and our relationship to life. Metaphors such as ‘living machine’ show how unclear the ontological status of newly formed life forms may be. Furthermore, the step from gene manipulation to creating new life forms will have consequences for humans’ understanding of themselves. The dangers of misuse, e.g. in the case of pathogenic synthetic organisms, are discussed from an ethical point of view and the risk of uncontrolled dissemination of synthetic organisms examined. Rules which are already well known from the field of gene technology are being put to practical test in synthetic biology. In order to attempt to understand the specific ethical problems of synthetic biology, a difference is made between research and areas of application and a systematic approach taken to the central ethical issues.