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Well-Ordered Science: The Case of GM Crops

Matthew J. Lister

University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

Journal of Philosophical Research, February 2007

The proponents of competing views about the safety and usefulness of GM crops often talk past each other. One major reason for this is the lack of a shared framework in which to evaluate their competing claims. In this paper I shall make use of Philip Kitcher's idea of a well-ordered science to see if it may offer us any guidance here. In doing so I shall first lay out the idea of a well-ordered science, as developed by Kitcher. Next I will see how it might deal with at least some of the controversies surrounding GM crops. In doing so I have two main goals. First, to show that work on the development and application of GM crops is distinctly un-well ordered at this time. Secondly, I seek to show that only by applying the ideals of something like a well-ordered science can we properly asses the potential harms and benefits of GM crops. Once I have done this, I tentatively suggest that the role of GM crops in solving the problems noted above is likely to be much smaller than their proponents might have thought.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

Keywords: GM Crops, Genetic Modification, Well-Ordered Science, Kitcher, Agricultural policy, Agricultural ethics, Bio-ethics

JEL Classification: I18, N50, Q18

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Date posted: August 14, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Lister, Matthew J., Well-Ordered Science: The Case of GM Crops. Journal of Philosophical Research, February 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1005728

Contact Information

Matthew J. Lister (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )
3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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