Well-Ordered Science: The Case of GM Crops
Journal of Philosophical Research, February 2007
17 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 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.
Keywords: GM Crops, Genetic Modification, Well-Ordered Science, Kitcher, Agricultural policy, Agricultural ethics, Bio-ethics
JEL Classification: I18, N50, Q18
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation