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An Annotated, Incomplete and Incredibly Egocentric Bibliography on the GMO Debate Paul B. Thompson, Michigan State University For Limited Distribution at the Clemson University Workshop on GMO’s and STS, Feb. 15, 16, 2006 1 General Overviews of the Debate Although debating agricultural and food biotechnology must be, by anyone’s standards, a very obscure topic, the available literature is huge. The bad news is that someone publishes a book or a webpage on the subject about every other week, if not more frequently. The good news is that the literature is a mile wide and an inch deep. This means that although it is virtually impossible for anyone to say that they have a “definitive” grasp of the issues, it is possible for virtually anyone to get oriented to some subset of the issues fairly quickly. First, I’m listing some sources that attempt or purport to give an overview of the issues with at least something of an ethical/philosophical orientation. Many of the entries in the latter part of the bibliography refer back to titles in this list. Darryl R. J. Macer. Shaping Genes : Ethics, Law and Science of Using New Genetic Technology in Medicine and Agriculture. Christchurch, NZ: Eubios Institute, 1990. Macer gets credit for having the first book out that really purported to do an ethics treatment of genetic engineering in agriculture. Nuff’said. J. R. S. Fincham and J. R. Ravetz. Genetic Engineering: Benefits and Risks. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991. Conciseness is more a virtue here than comprehensiveness, but there is a clear discussion of plant transformation which is not really all that out of date, and the “ethics” chapter is by Jerry Ravetz, who is a sensational sociologist of science and with Silvio Funtowicz came up with idea of “post-normal science”. Bernard Rollin. The Frankenstein Syndrome. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1995. Not exactly comprehensive, since Rollin limits himself to animal biotechnology and is as interested in genetic transformation of animals for medical research as he is agriculture. Yet this is an engaging read. Rollin is much better at developing interesting, insightful and important philosophical analyses of the issues than he is in engaging in extended debate with people who have contrasting views. His conception of telos has arguably been of more importance in actually reforming animal use than anything ever written by Peter Singer or Tom Regan, yet he seems to be slightly off the radar screen of mainstream philosophy. This book is a key source for debates about the “naturalness” of biotechnology. Rollin’s treatment of risk issues shows a lot of common sense but little grasp of the literature. Michael J. Reiss and Roger Straughn. Improving Nature: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1996. Very comprehensive for its day and still among the best sources for quickly acquiring a degree of scientific literacy with respect to genetic engineering. Reiss and Straughn are as interested in medicine as in agriculture, but their treatment of the agricultural issues is reasonably good. Paul B. Thompson. Food Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective. London: Chapman & Hall, 1997. I wrote this book with the scientific audience in mind. It takes pains to introduce readers to pretty standard philosophical terminology but presumes that readers pretty much know what ag. biotechnology is. You can get the general drift of the book by reading Fred Gifford’s review of it in the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Ask Fred for a copy because he probably has more than he knows what to do with. 1 N.B. This bibliography was originally put together for a class I taught in 2003, so it has occasional references to “the class” that have not been edited out, and it is mostly two years out of date. It is also biased toward things that grad students in philosophy would be most interested in. Mae Wan Ho. Genetic Engineering—Dream or Nightmare? Bath, UK: Gateway Books, 1998. (Republished in several editions). Not much chance for the dream hypothesis in this book. With Vandana Shiva, Ho is one of the most effective advocates against genetic engineering. This treatment is far more comprehensive than anything by Shiva. Some of the science sections in the book become quite technical and can be somewhat misleading to a novice reader. Michael W. Fox. Beyond Evolution: The Genetically Altered Future of Plants, Animals, the Earth— Humans. New York: Lyons Press, 1999. One Michael Fox is a philosopher from the U.K., but the one that wrote this book is a widely published veterinarian. Fox is absolutely first rate when it comes to dogs, and he has written a number of books castigating industrial agriculture. I count him as a friend and I find it convenient to cite his views on a number of topics, yet the philosophical grounding of his ethics is often obscure. One suspects a religious orientation to the issues (which is fine, but tell us what it is, Michael). Alan McHughen. Pandora's Picnic Basket: The Potential and Hazards of Genetically Modified Foods. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. McHughen is a gene jockey from Canada who has worked on transgenic flax, as well as contributing to work on herbicide tolerant Canola. His views are comparatively well balanced for someone with so much investment in the technology. When it gets to the ethics and social issues, what you get are his opinions (which are worth considering carefully) rather than analyses of the issues or comprehensive arguments addressing contradictory points of view. Gary Comstock. Vexing Nature? : On the Ethical Case against Agricultural Biotechnology. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000. Comstock wrote some of the most vehement and persuasive articles against ag biotech from 1988 until about 1996, then he changed his mind. This book collects the early papers, then spends about a hundred pages explaining why he changed his view. It is an interesting and important document in the debate, but perhaps not the best introductory treatment. I reviewed it for Agriculture and Human Values, if you really want to know what I think. Brian Tokar, Ed. Redesigning Life? The Worldwide Challenge to Genetic Engineering. London: 2001, Zed Books. This collection of articles by anti-GMO activists is, to my knowledge, the most intellectually respectable anti-GM tract out there. While not confined exclusively to agricultural and food issues, these issues do get the lion’s share of discussion in most of the selections. While few pro-GM types would think of these articles as “fair,” they do in my judgment raise issues that deserve debate, and express points of view in terms that allow one to see why the authors have taken strongly antagonistic perspectives. Gregory E. Pence. Designer Food: Mutant Harvest or Breadbasket of the World? Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Pence is a medical ethicist and a prolific author who decided to tackle agriculture. Unfortunately, he seems to have done all his research by surfing the web, and the result is a highly readable, but, in my view, pretty shallow treatment of the issues. Maybe I’m just mad because he didn’t bother to cite my work (actually, he does, but not extensively enough to stroke my ego). Richard Sherlock and John Morrey, eds. Ethical Issues in Biotechnology. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Allenheld, 2002. This is the first comprehensive ethics reader on biotechnology that includes food and agriculture as well as a number of sections on medical topics. It is worth taking a look at it if only to see how Sherlock and Morrey see ag and food fitting into the broader scope of bioethics. David Castle and Michael Ruse, eds. Genetically Modified Foods: Debating Biotechnology. Amherst, NY: 2002, Prometheus. Castle (who did 98% of the work here) does philosophy of biology and is pretty unsympathetic to critics of ag biotech. That shows (but not glaringly) in his selection of articles for this book. There was also apparently a quest for “Canadian content” that led to a few odd choices. But this is a good collection and it brought several important pieces to my attention for the first time. Britt Bailey and Marc Lappé. Engineering the Farm: The Social and Ethical Aspects of Agricultural Biotechnology. Washington, DC: 2002, Island Press. Bailey (who did 96% of the work here) has a sticker that reads “GMOs kill Monarch butterflies” pasted on her laptop. That attitude shows in the selection of authors that were recruited to contribute articles for this collection. But this is a relatively thorough and qualitatively better collection of anti-ag biotech articles than anything else with the possible exception of Tokar 2001. Finn Bowring, Science, Seeds and Cyborgs: Biotechnology and the Appropriation of Life. London: 2003, Verso Press. Despite the title, only about 15% of this book deals with plant or agricultural biotechnology, and a lot of it deals with human or medical biotechnology. Bowring’s book is a good place to go if you want to see what someone who has been reading a lot of postmodern social theory makes of the biotechnology debate. He doesn’t like biotechnology, in case you were wondering. Dustin R. Mulvaney and Jennifer L. Wells. Biotechnology, The Life Science Industry and the Environment: An Annotated Bibliography. Berkeley, CA: 2004, Institute of Environmental Sciences, University of California. A forty or so page over view precedes a lengthy annotated bibliography. They neglected all of my work, so how good could it be? Seriously, I include this mainly because it provides an alternative to the admittedly haphazard and incomplete annotated bibliography you are reading, but in fact I don’t think they did a very good job at all. They neglected almost all the philosophers who have worked on this subject, despite prominently featuring “ethics” as one of their themes. Their treatment tends to stress the biology (on which they are clearly more complete than I am) and very high fallutin’ theoretical social theory (Donna Harraway, for example) that, for all it’s value (I really do like Donna Harraway) is not of immediate relevance to the debate over biotechnology and the environment. Hugh Lacey, Values and Objectivity: The Current Controversy about Transgenic Crops. Lanham, MA: 2005, Lexington Books. Hugh Lacey is a very good analytically trained philosopher of science who has offered a thorough discussion of the GM crops debate with a strong emphasis on the philosophy of agricultural science. Succinctly, Lacey believes that a flawed conception of values and objectivity in science perpetuates unwillingness to debate the values actually being served by biotechnology. His critical focus stresses environmental and distributive justice issues associated with industrial agriculture, broadly, which he sees as being weakly and ineffectively being addressed by transgenic crops. This is a very good book, and very clearly argued. But it is also argued in great detail, and it can get tiring. Read it with the coffee pot in arm’s reach. General Websites There are literally thousands of sites on ag and food biotech. You might, for example, want to look at what Greenpeace and Monsanto have to say. Here are two “informational” sites that I think are a bit more worthwhile than many others. Pew Initiative on Agricultural Biotechnology http://pewagbiotech.org/ This is a group led by former government staffers and funded by the Pew Foundation. They have been trying to broker back room deals on biotech policy and have put up this website as a source of public information. The do worthwhile public information meetings and publish worthwhile white papers. Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee http://www.cbac-cccb.ca/ The Canadians have did a good job of putting together info on both medical and agricultural topics, though things are now getting somewhat out of date. I did a paper for them which you can find by clicking “Publications” then “Research” then scroll down to Oct. 2000 and look for “Food and Agricultural Biotechnology: Incorporating Ethical Considerations” or try: http://cbac-cccb.ca/epic/internet/incbac-- ccb.nsf/vwapj/FoodAgric_Thompson.pdf/$FILE/FoodAgric_Thompson.pdf (Actually, I don’t recommend looking at my CBAC paper. The Revised Chapter 1 is similar and more up to date.) Is biotechnology “unnatural”? For many authors, this has been the central, if not the only, philosophical question related to genetically engineered agricultural crops or livestock. As will become clear throughout the semester, I do not agree with this diagnosis. In fact, I have tended to regard it as a fairly uninteresting question, very much to the detriment of the work that I have done on biotech. So I’m trying to do better and give a more serious treatment to this question in this course. I think we can break the literature on this question down into two broad categories. First, there are authors who have dealt with the question of whether genetic engineering itself might be unnatural in some sense. If one includes those who have been primarily focused on the prospects for human genetic engineering, this is a huge literature and one with which I would not claim to have more than passing familiarity. Second, there is a fairly extensive literature focused more narrowly on the genetic transformation (and also cloning) of non-human animals. I am proposing that we concentrate on the questions raised under the broad heading on September 15, while reserving questions that pertain more specifically to animal biotechnology for September 22, and I am organizing my bibliographic comments accordingly. Part I: Genetic Engineering and Cloning as Unnatural A quick entree to this question can be had by looking at the paired articles from Prince Charles and Richard Dawkins that are excerpted in Ruse and Castle’s Genetically Modified Foods. The theme is followed up (more or less) by the sections headed “Ethics” and “Religion” in the same volume. These are worth a look, especially if you have bought the book. The question of whether it is morally permissible to use genetic engineering or cloning on human beings has been an important theme in contemporary bioethics and a major focus of research supported under the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) program of the Human Genome Project funded by the National Institutes of Health. Opinion is fairly dramatically split between those who think that this might be intrinsically wrong, and those who argue that the rightness or wrongness is a function of risks and benefits (including social consequences such as inequities to those who would be excluded from access to such technology). For those who would like a taste of this debate, the June, 1997 report Cloning Human Beings from the National Bioethics Advisory Commission NBAC) is as good a place to start as any. The report is widely available on the web, but here is one address that lists a number of NBAC publications: http://www.georgetown.edu/research/nrcbl/nbac/pubs.html However, the NBAC was not regarded as sufficiently neutral by the Bush administration, and as a result it has been replaced by the President’s Council on Bioethics. You can see their take on cloning at http://www.bioethics.gov/ Leon Kass, the chairman of Bush’s council, wrote a plea against cloning: Kass, Leon. 1997. “The Wisdom of Repugnance,” The New Republic June 2, 1997: 17-26, that is well worth reading, and has now been reprinted widely. Kass’s article provides an argument that can be applied broadly, not solely to human beings, and the argument has indeed been adapted specifically to the case of genetically engineered food in Mary Midgley, ‘Biotechnology and Monstrosity,” The Hastings Center Report 30 5 (2000): 7-15. A similar but slightly toned down line of argument can be found in Ruth Chadwick, “Novel, Natural, Nutritious: Towards a Philosophy of Food,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (2000): 193-208. Perhaps the following article is among the most radical in articulating the view that genetically engineered food is unnatural: Bockmühl, Jochen. 2001. “A Goethean View of Plants: Unconventional Approaches,” In Intrinsic Value and Integrity of Plants in the Context of Genetic Engineering, D. Heaf and J. Wirz, Eds. Llanystumdwy, UK: International Forum for Genetic Engineering, pp. 26-31. Other articles in this collection are worth checking out for those who hope to find a basis for thinking biotechnology unnatural. However, most of the action has been on the other side of the issue, that is, philosophers attempting arguments that are intended to show how claims that biotechnology is unnatural are mistaken. Perhaps the best of these, at least in terms of giving the other side its due, is MSU’s own Fred Gifford, “Biotechnology,” In Life Science Ethics, Gary Comstock, Ed. Ames, IA: 2002, Iowa State University Press. Comstock himself has done a seemingly exhaustive review of what people might mean when they say that biotechnology is unnatural in Gary Comstock, Is it unnatural to genetically engineer plants? 647-651 Weed Science 46 (1998) which is (I think) wholly reprinted in Chapter 5 of his book Vexing Nature? Similar discussions can be found in Reiss and Straughn’s Improving Nature, or Pence’s Designer Foods and it is difficult to think of a more entertaining treatment than that of Rollin’s The Frankenstein Syndrome. But perhaps the seminal anti-unnatural article will turn out to be Mark Sagoff, 2001. “Genetic Engineering and the Concept of the Natural,” Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly 21(2/3/):2-10. Sagoff draws heavily on John Stuart Mill’s essay “Nature,” which is usually thought of as one of a trilogy on philosophy of religion from the great utilitarian thinker. It can be found in Mill, Three Essays on Religion (New York: 1969, Greenwood Press) as well as in other editions. There are some other themes that are relevant, I think. One is the alleged “reductionism” of biotechnology. This is a theme that began to appear in literature critical of biotechnology especially in a collection entitled Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, edited by Vandana Shiva and Ingunn Moser, (Zed Books: 1995, London). See especially Shiva’s concluding essay “Beyond Reductionism.” The reductionism theme has been continued especially forcefully in a new book by Finn Bowring, Science, Seeds and Cyborgs: Biotechnology and the Appropriation of Life London: 2003, Verso Press. I reviewed the book for Nature/Biotechnology, and the review is available on line in the current issue: http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/dynapage.taf?file=/nbt/journal/v21/n9/index.html (or just type Nature Biotechnology into Google and navigate to it). Sheldon Krimsky has contributed important essays to this critique. See his article in the Lappé and Bailey collection Engineering the Farm, but especially Sheldon Krimsky, “Risk Assessment and Regulation of Bioengineered Food Products,” International Journal of Biotechnology 2 (2002): 31-238. The main biological arguments seem to be drawn from Mae Wan Ho’s Dream or Nightmare. The “reductionism” argument is not the same as an “unnatural” argument, but raises some philosophical issues that may be appropriate to think about in this section of the course. In addition to just getting clear about the nature of the argument, we might want to think about whether it can be successfully tied to feminist writings on science. Another, which opens up the topic even more, is the question of whether the reductionism and unnaturalness arguments should simply be read as popularizations of a broad political opposition. See, for example, Tokar, Brian. 2001. “Challenging Biotechnology,” In Redesigning Life? The World Challenge to Genetic Engineering, B. Tokar, ed. London: Zed Books, pp. 1-16. Tokar brings us full circle by telling us that opposition to food biotechnology and opposition to human genetic engineering and cloning are really one and the same thing. There is also the sociological question of whether any of this philosophical stuff has anything at all to do with what people think when they say that biotechnology is unnatural. Here is a fairly unstructured glob of cites on that: Paul Sparks, Roger Shepherd and Lynn Frewer, Gene Technology, Food Production and Public Opinion: A U.K. Study Agr. & Human Values 11 (1994): 19-28; Lynn J. Frewer, Roger Shepherd and Paul Sparks, Public Concerns in the United Kingdom about General and Specific Aspects of Genetic Engineering: Risk, Benefit and Ethics Sci., Tech. & Human Values 22 (1997): 98-124. Biotechnology in the Public Sphere, John Durant, Martin W. Bauer and George Gaskell, Eds, London: The Science Museum, 1998; George Gaskell and Martin W. Bauer, eds, Biotechnology: The Years of Controversy London: The Science Museum, 2001; George Gaskell and others, Biotechnology: The Making of a Global Controversy Cambridge: Cambrdge U. Press, 2002, and Susanna Priest’s A Grain of Truth. Rowman and Allenheld, 2001. I’m not sure any of this stuff proves anything, however. Part II: Is it Unnatural to Engineer Animals This is a more focused debate and I can actually give you some fairly definitive bits. First is Rollin’s 1995 book. There was also a much earlier paper that contains the core of the argument: B. E. Rollin, 1986. “The Frankenstein thing” in Genetic Engineering of Animals: An Agricultural Perspective, J. W. Evans and A. Hollaender, New York: Plenum Press, pp 285-298. The paper was reprinted in Steven Gendel, et. al, eds. Agricultural Bioethics : Implications Of Agricultural Biotechnology. Ames, IA: 1990, Iowa State U. Press. There is an excellent collection of philosophical and other essays on this topic: A. Holland and A. Johnson, eds. Animal Biotechnology and Ethics, London: 1998, Chapman and Hall. There are also important essays included in Peter Wheale and Ruth McNally ed. The BioRevolution: Consucopia or Pandora’s Box, London: Pluto Press, 1990, especially the essays by Michael Fox and Jeremy Rifkin. I also tend to regard two early articles by Henk Verhoog as seminal: “Ethics and genetic engineering of animals,” In Morality, Worldview and Law, A. W. Musschenga et al, eds. Assen/Maastricht: VanGorcum, 1992, pp. 267-278; and “The concept of intrinsic values and transgenic animals,” J. Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 5(2): 147-160, (1992); also “Biotechnology and ethics,” in Controversial Science, T. Brante, S. Fuller and W. Lynch, eds. New York: SUNY Press, 1993, pp. 83-106. You can read my take on this literature in P. B. Thompson, “Ethics and the Genetic Engineering of Food Animals,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 10(1997): 1-23, which is reprinted as a chapter in my 1997 book. Risk Part I: Introduction to Risk Policy and Analysis. Does anyone recognize the existence of something called “risk studies”? A fairly extensive body of expertise and accompanying literature has arisen during the last 35 years on the analysis and management of risk. As I see it, the field of risk studies, if there is such a thing, grew in response to a vague set of public policy issues that are themselves only about a century old. Perhaps the first of these were associated with, on the one hand, public health measures that were themselves proposed as a result of technological innovations such as microscopes and accompanying scientific ideas such as the germ theory of disease, 2 and a perceived crisis in the purity of food leading to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which was the first statute to create an administrative agency (the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) dedicated to the 2 For a wonderfully readable history see Joseph A. Amato, Dust: A History of the Small and the Invisible. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000. management of risk.3 For 60 or 70 years, the history of risk regulation is largely a history of the growth of technical disciplines (toxicology, epidemiology) dedicated to the collection of data and the development of statistical methods for understanding and responding to such problems. These coalesce in the 1970’s with the nearly simultaneous emergence of threats associated with agricultural pesticides, 4 nuclear power,5 and public policy crises over asbestos and toxic waste disposal. Eventually, people started to write general treatises on risk and regulation, and the Society for Risk Analysis was formed in approximately 1980. General Theory of Risk The first authors to get in on this action were William W. Lowrance, Of Acceptable Risk: Science and the Determination of Safety. Los Altos: CA: Wm. Kaufman, 1976, and William D. Row, An Anatomy of Risk. New York: Wiley, 1977. While both of these books are still worth reading, I tend to recommend two others that approach the field by collecting seminal articles: Theodore S. Glickman and Michael Gough, Eds. Readings in Risk. Washington, D.C: Resources for the Future, 1990; and Sheldon Krimsky and Dominic Golding, Eds. Social Theories of Risk. Westport, CT: Praeger Press, 1992. The first is an anthology that represents what might be called the established wisdom of risk studies, a set of papers that collectively articulate the main approaches to measuring and managing technologically induced risks, on the one hand, and the main problems of both and methodological and a political sort that one encounters in doing so. The latter is, in some respects, the report of the rump group. That is, theorists who think that the established wisdom is wrong in some fundamental way (though there is a fair bit of overlap between these two communities). Another highly readable example of established wisdom comes from the physicist H. W. Lewis, Technological Risk. New York: W. W. Norton, 1990, while I suppose the ultimate rump view comes from Ulrich Beck, Risk Society. London: Sage Publications, 1992 (a rather philosophical sociological treatment, thought by some to be the next stage in the critical theory: tradition of German social thought). This dichotomy between established wisdom and rump group has actually been replicated within that paragon of established wisdom, The National Research Council (for publications go to http://www.nap.edu/ ) which has published two almost contradictory “definitive” reports on the measurement and management of risk. The first is frequently referred to as “the red book” and is called Risk Assessment in the Federal Government http://books.nap.edu/openbook/0309033497/html/index.html (1983) while the second is often referred to as “the orange book” and is called Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society http://books.nap.edu/openbook/030905396X/html/index.html (1996). You will also find lots of other useful and interesting stuff on the NRC publications webpage, and I encourage you to browse, yet these two reports represent a kind of polar demarcation of where we are in risk studies. Philosophical Treatments. Although risk studies probably does not crack any “top ten” lists in terms of philosophical topics and studies, philosophers are very much a part of this literature. I’m handing out a chapter from a book edited by two philosophers: Deborah G. Mayo and Rachelle Hollander, eds. Acceptable Evidence: Science and Values in Risk Management. New York: Oxford U. Press, 1991. The chapter is Ronald Giere’s “Knowledge, Values and Technological Decisions: A Decision Theoretic Approach,” pp 183-203. Although this paper has not been particularly influential, I like it because it is a competent and concise statement of what I was calling the “established wisdom” in risk studies, and it takes a decidedly philosophical bent. In this volume, the “rump view” is somewhat represented by Roger and Jeane Kasperson, Sheila Jasanoff, and Paul Slovic (though Slovic is a deep “insider” in risk studies) none of whom are philosophers. You get one philosopher’s interpretation of this divide in risk studies from Mayo’s chapter “Sociological Versus Metascientific Views of Risk Assessment,” but Mayo is much more sympathetic to the “established view” as a proper analytic and normative approach. To some degree Hollander’s “Expert Claims and Social Decisions” has more sympathy with the rump group, but if you 3 The seminal and precipitating document is Upton Sinclair, The Jungle. New York: Doubleday and Page, 1906. See also the FDA Home Page: http://www.fda.gov 4 Rachel Carson, Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1962, is sometimes credited with starting the environmental movement in the United States. A number of historical and political studies have been done on pesticide regulation. See especially Thomas R. Dunlap, DDT: Scientists, Citizens and Society Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1981; John H. Perkins, Insects, Experts, And The Insecticide Crisis: The Quest For New Pest Management Strategies, New York: Plenum Press, 1982. 5 Kristen S. Shrader-Frechette, Nuclear Power And Public Policy : The Social And Ethical Problems Of Fission Technology. Boston and Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1980. want a real rumpish counterpart to Mayo, read Paul B. Thompson and Wesley E. Dean, “Competing Conceptions of Risk,” Risk: Health, Safety and Environment 7(4): 361-384, (1996), which I will also give you. Of philosophers who have made something of a career out of writing on risk, the biggest is certainly Kristen Shrader-Frechette, who will be here to give talks on Sept. 26, 2003. The best of Kristen’s risk books is Risk and Rationality. Berkeley, CA: U. California Press, 1991, though there are lots of papers sprinkled throughout the literature. The number two guy is Douglas MacLean, who edited a collection entitled Values at Risk. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1986. The book has papers by a number of big time philosopher-types such as Amartya Sen, Annete Baier, Allan Gibbard and Ian Hacking. It also has two reasonably good papers representing the established wisdom and the rump view, respectively: “Cost- Benefit Analysis Applied to Risks: Its Philosophy and Legitimacy,” by Herman Leonard and Richard Zeckhauser, and “To Hell wth the Turkeys!” by Michael Thompson. 6 After MacLean, I suppose the next guy to look at is Carl Cranor, whose book Regulating Toxic Substances New York: Oxford U. Press, 1993 looks at the difference between concepts of risk and causality in science and in the law. Cranor has an excellent paper that might have been a good alternative to the one by Geire. It was published sometime in the late 1990’s in Risk: Health Safety and Environment, but I’ve lost the citation in my moving frenzy. If any takes the trouble to run this down, please share the information around. I’ve written a fair amount of stuff myself. Please ask and I will be happy to provide any of the following: 1. P. B. Thompson, “The Ethics of Truth-Telling and the Problem of Risk,” Science and Engineering Ethics 5(4): 489-511. This is my best paper on risk, but not the best overview and introduction to the field of risk studies (which is why I’m handing out Thompson and Dean instead of this one). 2. P.B. Thompson, “Risk Subjectivism and Risk Objectivism: When Are Risks Real?” Risk: Issues in Health and Safety, 1(1): 3-19, (1990). This was an attempt to take a dichotomy between “real” and “perceived” risk (which was pretty robust in the literature up to the point that this was published), take it seriously and have a little fun with it by examining some possible policy and legal implications. Maybe I took it a little too seriously. 3. P.B. Thompson, “Reply to Valverde,” Risk: Issues in Health and Safety, 1(3): 49-57, (1992). Here I explain what I really meant to say in the above paper, after this guy Valverde does a horrible misreading of my original point. 4. P. B. Thompson, “Risk and Responsibilities in Modern Agriculture,” in Issues in Agricultural Bioethics, T. B. Mepham, G. A. Tucker, and J. Wiseman, eds. (Nottingham: 1995, Nottingham University Press) pp. 31-45. The arguments in this paper were a developmental stage toward the view that I finally nailed in (1) above. The treatment here is more combative, and in method of presentation, at least, more philosophical. 5. P.B. Thompson, “Risk: Ethical Issues and Values,” in Agricultural Biotechnology, Food Safety and Nutritional Quality for the Consumer, J. F. MacDonald, ed. National Agricultural Biotechnology Council (NABC) Report 2, (Ithaca, NY: 1991, NABC) pp. 204-217. Here you will find arguments about the conceptualization of risk drawn from philosophy of language that I have never bothered to publish in a more respectable place. Pretty stupid of me. 6. P.B. Thompson, “Collective Action and the Analysis of Risk,” Public Affairs Quarterly 1(2):23-42 (1987). One point that continues be overlooked in risk studies is that agency matters. The literature bounces around this by talking about “voluntariness” and “control” but the point is that if someone does something that precipitates a risky situation, the standards are wholly different than when something “just happens.” Part of the reason that the point gets obscured is that the agents in question 6 Thompson is an advocate of “cultural theory” which is the hot new thing in political science policy studies, I’m told. The seminal work in cultural theory was Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky, Risk and Culture. Berkeley, CA: U. California Press, 1981. The cultural theory approach to risk gets a philosophical treatment in a paper by Mark Sagoff entitled “Is Big Beautiful?” which I believe to have been published in J. Applied Philosophy, late 80’s early 90’s. Shrader-Frechette accuses Douglas of being a raving relativist in Risk and Rationality, but I think she is not really much of a relativist, as anthropologists go. This is a fascinating literature well worth getting into for its own merits and quite relevant to the biotech debate. See also Michael Thompson and Michiel Schwarz, Divided We Stand: Redefining Politics, Technology and Social Choice. Philadelphia: U. Pennsylvania Press, 1990. for technological risk are corporate (or collective) groups, not individuals. No individual introduced Bt corn to the world, but Monsanto did. That’s the philosophical point of this paper (the agency stuff, not Monsanto), which had 7 of 8 reviewers for Ethics urging publication, two strongly, yet as you see, it was not published in Ethics (not to discourage those of you early in your careers—there is life after rejection). 7. P.B. Thompson, “Agricultural Biotechnology and the Rhetoric of Risk: Some Conceptual Issues,” The Environmental Professional, 9:316-326 (1987). My first go at ag biotech, and also the first place I did a reasonably successful treatment of the issues addressed in (1) above. But probably not something you want to read unless you are a) interested in the history of the ag biotech debate, or b) writing my biography. 8. P. B. Thompson, “Biotechnology, Risk and Political Values: Philosophical Rhetoric and the Structure of Political Debate,” in Biotechnology: Assessing Social Impacts and Policy Implications, D. J. Webber, ed. (New York: 1990, Greenwood Press), pp. 3-16. This is a philosophically more rich and mature version of the argument in the above paper, and one of the few papers from my misspent youth that does not make me cringe. But its probably of less historical interest than (7). The Webber book, however, has lots of other interesting stuff and is sadly overlooked by all the newcomers to the study of biotechnology as a political issue. 9. P.B. Thompson and W.J. Parkinson, “Situation Specific Indicators for Distinguishing Between High- Consequence/ Low-Probability Risk and Low-Consequence/High-Probability Risk,” in Low- Probability/High-Consequence Risk Analysis, R. Waller and V. Covello, eds. (New York: 1984, Plenum Press) pp. 551-567. This may be the stupidest paper I ever wrote. The point is that if you have a high consequence-low probability risk, it’s quantitatively the same as a low consequence-high probability risk (both involve multiplying a big number by a small number), yet the two are qualitatively different. Duh! But it’s full of wonderful technical mojo that still gets an occasional nod from people doing risk studies. Theoretical Background Obviously the “general theory of risk” does not come out of nowhere, but where does it come from? One answer is that it comes from the slow emergence of probability theory in mathematics and statistics. A good philosophical history has been written by Ian Hacking, The Emergence of Probability. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1975, see also The Taming of Chance. Cambridge: 1990, Cambridge U. Press. Another possibility is that it just comes out of utilitarianism. On the one hand, I think one case for this could be made simply by reading the first 25 or 30 pages of Jeremy Bentham’s Principles of Morals and Legislation London: T. Payne, 1989. On the other, it is certainly true that one finds very little in Mill, Sidgwick or subsequent developments of the theory to suggest that giving an account of decision making under conditions of risk or uncertainty was very central to utilitarian ethical theory. In fact, virtually no one who writes about decision making under uncertain or indeterminate circumstances associates the word “risk” with this problem before the twentieth century. It is interesting to note that the works of early theorists of, for example, gambling (such as Daniel Bernoulli) always used the word “chance” (more correctly, the used the Latin word “sors), but when these works were translated into English in the first half of the twentieth century, the word ‘risk’ was used to translate a word that more traditionally would have been translated as ‘chance’. Why? Well by the 1930’s and 1940’s there was a fairly established community of economists beginning to develop a theory of risk-taking, and they found Bernoulli’s work quite helpful. But is there anything to be made of this linguistic point? I think possibly there is. It looks as if prior to the twentieth century the word ‘risk” was primarily associated with activities that involved personal courage, such as military endeavors or adventures. Sometime around 1900 political economists starting using the word risk in work that was taking up the question of why investors deserved profits, and the word ‘risk’ started to creep into the literature. 7 The quantitative, decision theoretic literature and the normative philosophical question come together in a book that is usually cited as the granddaddy of 20 th century economic work on risk, Frank Knight, Risk, Uncertainty and Profit Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1921. Thinking on the problem is substantially altered by the seminal book in modern game theory, John von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944), though interestingly, 7 There is an interesting discussion of this question in an essay by the philosopher James Hayden Tufts in a book entitled America’s Social Morality: Dilemmas of the Changing Mores. New York: H. Holt, 1933. I’m not sure what to make of this point, but there might be an interesting paper to be written here. they do not frame their inquiry as involving risk in any central way. That comes with a seminal paper that must be read by anyone thinking about the philosophical issues here, Milton Friedman and Leonard J. Savage, “The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk,” The Journal of Political Economy, 56 (1948): 279-304. After that, the deluge. Most economics departments now offer a least a half a dozen course specifically on risk, though they are not necessarily thinking about the same problems that led to risk studies. Problem Oriented Studies. In some respects, the best way to get a handle on risk issues is to ignore the theoretical literature and to look at studies of specific issues in environmental, food safety and product risk. Some of these have been mentioned previously, but here are four especially useful studies. 1. John D. Graham, Laura C. Green, and Marc J. Roberts. In Search Of Safety: Chemicals And Cancer Risk. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U. Press, 1988. This book is well written and an important study that reviews several U.S. case studies in regulation of chemicals. Graham founded the Harvard Center for Riak Analysis http://www.hcra.harvard.edu/ which has lots of case studies on its website. He is now the White House science advisor. 2. Lawrence Haworth, Conrad Brunk, and Brenda Lee. Values in Risk Assessment: A Case Study of the Alachlor Controversy. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier U. Press, 1991, is very influential outside the U.S. and strangely un-read within our borders. Haworth and Brunk are philosophers, and Brunk might have been added to my list above were it not for the fact that I’m not much aware of what he has published in the professional literature. 3. Douglas Powell and William Leiss. Mad Cows And Mother's Milk: The Perils Of Poor Risk Communication. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1997. This book has a series of case study chapters, including one on genetically engineered food, and is especially recommended for its treatment of issues relating to risk perception, political participation and trust. Leiss is a fairly well known political philosopher. Powell runs a website at the University of Guelphy called the Food Safety Network http://www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/ and is not well liked by opponents of GM foods. 4. CassR. Sunstein, Risk and Reason: Safety, Law and the Environment. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 2002. This recent book is to be recommended for its integration of work on the perception and communication of risk. It borders on being part of the “general theory” literature, for Sunstein (a well published law professor at the University of Chicago), argues aggressively for a “cost benefit” approach to risk issues throughout. Although I find Sunstein a bit more technocratic on these issues than I would be, I still recommend this book highly as an important treatment of normative issues in administrative law. Sociological Approaches: So far, the summary has taken a “philosophical” approach in two senses. One is that I have been biased toward philosophers, but also I have approached the question in terms of understanding what risk is, or, alternatively, what people mean when they describe a situation as risky or think that a decision involves risk, and what they should do to make rational decisions in such situations. In fact, the vast majority of work on risk makes rather different assumptions. There is a very large empirical literature on using scientific methods to quantify risk, and an equally large social science literature on how people behave in response to risky situations, allegations or imputations of risk and hazard, and how they “perceive” (which really means conceptualize and interpret) certain situations characterized or categorized in terms of risk (e.g. Which involves greater risk: skiing or driving your car to work?). Some of the old readers mentioned above still (as far as I know) provide the best entrée into this literature. One is Readings in Risk, Glickman and Gough, eds, Washington, D.C.: 1990, Resources for the Future. The second is Social Theories of Risk Krimsky and Golding, eds. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1992, and the third is edited by two philosophers, Deborah Mayo and Rachelle Hollander, Acceptable Evidence : Science And Values In Risk Management New York: Oxford U. Press, 1991. When I am in a contentious mood, I insist that this stuff has more to do with general theory of human behavior than risk per se. This makes me a member of a rump group squared, I guess. But there is no doubt that this literature has grown by leaps and bounds. Tom Deitz, who is a member of our nano group, has contributed to a pretty good overview of it in the paper that I can’t find right now. Bug me about this later. Risk Part II: Issues Specific to the GMO Debate I. Environmental Risks from Transgenic Crops I contributed to the National Research Council Report entitled Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants, so it is not surprising that I find it to be a good source on the debate. The NRC website is http://www.nrc.edu while the text of the report is available at the website of the National Academies Press http://www.nap.edu I also recommend two of my own papers, “The Environmental Ethics Case for Crop Biotechnology: Putting Science Back into Environmental Practice,” in Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice. A. Light and A. de-Shalit, Eds. Cambridge, MA: 2003, The MIT Press, pp. 187- 217 and “Value Judgments and Risk Comparisons: The Case of Genetically Engineered Crops,” Plant Physiology 132(2003): 10-16. The latter paper has citations to the key NRC reports, while the former paper has citations to a lot of the other relevant literature. Within anthologies see especially: Parts 8 and 10 from Ruse and Castle (except for the Miller and Conko article), and the articles by Krimsky, Bailey and Raffensparger in the Bailey and Lappé. Culver’s article from the Ruse and Castle is about fish, but this might be an occasion to take a look at it. The Tokar anthology is chock full of articles alleging environmental risks associated with genetically engineered plants and animals. II Food Safety and Labeling The Castle and Ruse and Bailey and Lappé anthologies are a good place to start on this topic. See Parts 4 and 6 from Castle and Ruse, as well as papers by Comstock and by Feit. See also my paper, Barling and Lappé from Bailey and Lappé. There are also a number of sources cited in connection with the discussion of this issue in the bibliography for the new Chapter 1 of my book. Note especially the work of Robert Streiffer. Here is one more: Tatiana Klompenhouwer and Henk van den Belt, “Regulating Functional Foods in the European Union: Informed Choice versus Consumer Protection,” J. Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (2003): 545-556. III The Precautionary Principle The two anthologies offer us Raffensperger and Barrett’s defense of the precautionary principle from Bailey and Lappé, as well as Miller and Conko’s attack on it in Castle and Ruse. (Although Goklany’s article claims to apply the precautionary principle, I do not think it actually has much to do with it). There is a brief discussion of the precautionary principle in Environmental Effects of Transgenic Plants. The definitive collection on of articles always cited in connection with the precautionary principle is Carolyn Raffensperger and Joel Tickner, eds. Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1999. Two more recent ones are: 1. Henk van den Belt, “Debating the Precautionary Principle: "Guilty until Proven Innocent" or "Innocent until Proven Guilty"? Plant Physiology 132 (2003) 1122-1126. http://www.plantphysiol.org 2. Cranor, Carl F. “How Should Society Approach the Real and Potential Risks Posed by New Technologies? Plant Physiology 133(2003): 3-9. http://www.plantphysiol.org The manuscript of Chapter 1 that has been distributed offers a more detailed discussion of the precautionary principle debate, and a more complete listing of sources relevant to it. Beyond “Nature,” Beyond Risk What follows are extremely succinct starting points for very complicated debates. A slightly less succinct overview on social justice issues (but not intellectual property) can be found in my manuscript for the revised edition of Chapter 1 of my book, which also references quite a few additional sources relating to science policy, agrarian transition and distributive justice. Intellectual Property: Philosophical Foundations On what grounds do we consider ideas, techniques or information to be ownable, exchangeable items of property, things that people may control by excluding others and exploit by profiting from their use? Here it is important to begin with a distinction between the idea of private property and the various legal instruments that have been developed to define and protect property rights of all kinds. One broad philosophical tradition holds that property rights are justified in light of their capacity to further other ends, such as reducing social conflict or furthering economic growth. Here tests for the validity of specific legal instruments (such as patents, copyrights, trade secrets or the registered plant varieties that were protected under the Plant Variety Protection Act) involve the degree to which a given instrument succeeds in furthering the desired ends. Deeper social disputes concern what those ends are. The alternative tradition holds that certain kinds of things are fit to be items of property by their very nature, while others are not. Here, the deep questions cannot be avoided: are human beings ever fit to be items of property? How about their genes? How about other genes? How about items that have very high exclusion costs, such as sunshine or air? Once the deep questions are answered, specific instruments are evaluated in terms of their consistency with the standards that emerge from those answers. This section could go on at much greater length than the risk section. The classic statement of the instrumental view of property comes from G.W.F. Hegel’s The Philosophy of Right, although contemporary treatments in law and economics tend to favor a more utilitarian interpretation. The extensive writings of Richard Epstein would be the leading contemporary theorist. The older more metaphysical tradition derives from natural law philosophers such as Hugo Grotius, but the 25 or so pages in “On Property,” from John Locke’s 2nd Treatise of Government are undeniably the most influential. Locke actually mixes classic metaphysical with instrumental criteria in this chapter. A nice source specifically tied to intellectual property rights can be found in Adam C. Moore, Intellectual Property: Moral, Legal and International Dilemmas. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield, 1997. The book is available as an e-book through the MSU Library. The entire first section on theoretical foundations is useful, but especially the first two chapters by Ned Hettinger (the instrumentalist) and Lynne Sharp Paine (the metaphysician). Intellectual Property: Effects on Farmers and Agricultural Research Is it legitimate to claim ownership of plant and animal genes? Has the move toward patents and away from registered plant varieties negatively or positively affected agricultural research? In particular is this an abandonment of the traditional land grant philosophy? Do farmers have a natural right to the genetic resources of the crops that they grow? How are we to understand technical strategies for controlling intellectual property (i.e. Genetic Use Restriction Technology or GURT) in light of our traditions in property rights? Instrumentalists tend to answer these questions by how patents, GURTs or traditional plant varieties For source material on these questions some of the anthologies from the beginning of the bibliography offer rich veins, Lori Andrews in the Bailey and Lappé and the first two papers in Part 5 of Ruse and Castle, in particular. Tokar’s anthology has a section entitled “Patents, Corporate Power and the Theft of Knowledge and Resources.” David Magnus wrote a philosophical paper on this topic which is included in the book he edited with Arthur Caplan and Glenn McGee entitled Who Owns Life? Amherst, NY: 2002, Prometheus Books. Other papers in this collection deal with medical issues. Don Vietor, my colleague from Texas A&M worked up a case study on the agricultural research questions: D. M. Vietor, J. M. Chandler, P. B. Thompson, and M. L. Kitchersid. “Should Public Funds Support Biotechnology Development? A Case About Herbicide Resistant Cotton,” Journal of Natural Resources and Life Science Education. 24(1995): 173-178. Peter Philips from U. Saskatchewan has a C.D. that has a number of source materials relating to the Percy Schmeiser lawsuits for patent infringements. I must confess that I have not worked through these materials carefully, but here is Peter’s web page if you want to follow up on this thread: http://www.genomeprairie.ca/gels/team/phillips.htm Schmeiser has his own webpage, too: http://www.percyschmeiser.com/ Here are some names of other legal and economic scholars to type into Google scholar in order to see what they have been up to: Brian Wright, UC Berkeley; Rebecca Eisenberg, U. Michigan; Dan Burke, U. Minnesota; John Barton, Stanford. Social Justice: Part I Science Policy & Public Participation One of the main themes emerging from the controversy over GMO’s is that the broader public (or perhaps I should say ‘publics’) have little opportunity to express their views on the directions that science takes our society. What should we think about this? On the one hand, both public science funding and other public policies that encourage scientific innovation in the private sector are generally rationalized in terms of their widespread public benefit and contribution to the public good. Is there no place for non-scientists (or non- venture capitalists) to have a role in deciding what vision of public benefit and the public good will steer scientific research? On the other hand, no one really wants to put these kinds of issues up to a vote. So there are debates about the appropriate role of the public and forums for public involvement, on the one hand, and on the need for scientists themselves to become more broadly informed about these issues and public proclivities, on the other. Again, anthologies provide a good starting point, especially the Ruse and Castle volume, Part 7. There is also an article by some New York Times reporters (Eichenwald et. al.) in Part I, of Ruse and Castle is that focuses on the idea that the industry in general and Monsanto in particular caused the reaction to biotechnology by being so high-handed in their willingness to involve broader publics. That is also the the theme of NPR science reporter Dan Charles’ excellent book, Lords of the Harvest (Cambridge, MA: 2001, Perseus Press). Barling’s paper from Bailey and Lappé is also relevant to this discussion. See also Martin Bauer and George Gaskell. Biotechnology: the Making of a Global Controversy. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press. Social Justice: Part II Agrarian Transition and Agricultural Development My manuscript for revised Chapter 1 of my book discusses this issue in some detail, so I will just note that according to one point of view, justice and technical change have special characteristics in agriculture and rural areas that are quite unlike the way that issues of industrialization and social justice play out in factory settings and urban workplaces. I’m not sure what would be a good “short” thing to suggest here yet, but Jack Kloppenburg, Jr. First the seed : the political economy of plant biotechnology, 1492-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1988, would be a very good start, as would Lawrence Busch, William Lacy, Jeffery Burkhardt and Laura Lacy. Plants, Power and Profits. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell, 1990. Social Justice: Part III Does the Developing World Need Biotech? From the anthologies, look at the entire “golden rice” section from Ruse and Castle, plus Part 9. Peter Rosset’s article from the Bailey and Lappé. Vandana Shiva’s many works are relevant. See also Norman Borlaug’s paper “Ending World Hunger: The Promise of Biotechnology and the Threat of Anti-Science Zealotry,” Plant Physiology 123 (2000): 487-490. At the risk of being even more egocentric (is it possible) Rather than going on at length here, I am also attaching yet another unpublished manuscript entitled “Ethics, Hunger and GM Crops” that discusses this problem and reviews some of the literature on it in a fairly extensive bibliographic afterward that only partially duplicates sources that are discussed in the revised Chapter 1. Appendix: Ethics, Hunger and the Case for GM Crops Do wealthy people and their governments have an ethical obligation to moderate qualms or concerns they might have about new agricultural or food technology in virtue of its potential for alleviating hunger and malnutrition? There have already been a surprising number of specific policy issues in which contradictory answers to this apparently arcane question have been at the core of disagreement. So-called GM (or genetically modified) foods have been developed through recombinant DNA techniques for introducing new traits into plants, microbes and animals. Several applications (notably herbicide resistance genes and genes for the bacillus thuringiensus (bt) toxin) of this technology have been incorporated into food and fiber crops that are grown by farmers in the United States, Argentina and a number of other food exporting nations. Yet the technology sparked a firestorm of controversy in the late 1990’s. Biotechnology’s potential to address food shortages and nutritional deficiencies became a frequent talking point among its advocates, especially in debates over proposed shipments of GM maize for use as food aid and over the prospects for addressing Vitamin-A deficiencies with a genetically modified variety popularly known as “Golden Rice.” Although GM crops represent a recent and important instance in which concerns about new technology are countered with an argument stressing the technology’s potential for alleviating a morally compelling need, this pattern of moral argument is far from unique. Within agriculture, similar arguments were used in debates over Green Revolution projects that introduced chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the developing world. Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug has been a particularly vocal and prominent defender of both Green Revolution and GM crops. Borlaug has not hesitated to suggest that those who voice these concerns act immorally because the needs of the hungry override the concerns of the wealthy. Beyond issues of food and hunger, advocates of stem cell research cite its potential to be used in therapies for devastating diseases as a counter to those who have qualms. Indeed, this general pattern of argument may be so common as to constitute a problem of general interest in the ethics of technology: Does the potential for morally compelling benefits to the needy override less compelling concerns expressed by people who do not share this need? I will not, however, address the question in its most general form, nor do I suggest that an analysis focused on hunger and biotechnology will necessarily be generalizable to other issues in technological ethics. In keeping with a focus on hunger, I will briefly review some of the main arguments that are used to characterize the moral significance of hunger and malnutrition as global problems. While sages, moralists and philosophers have long pondered the virtue of extending aid to the needy, the needy in question were generally presumed to be members of one’s local community. The ethics of world hunger is thus a philosophical problem of comparatively recent origin. I will also make a selective review of some arguments behind qualms that have been expressed about GM food. I will then connect the two lines of argument in which the claims of hunger are pitted against those of the queasy, concluding with a brief discussion of practical implications for ongoing debates. The Ethics of World Hunger Although global hunger has, in some sense, been a topic of philosophical reflection at least since Thomas Malthus’ Essay on a Principle of Population in 1798, it is really a topic of the last forty years. Philosophers began to write on the basis for global obligations to ensure that the world’s hungry are fed in response to a rising general awareness of hunger that had multiple sources and themes. One theme was certainly the Green Revolution itself, which in the early years was presented to the public as a technological fix for hunger. Another was the political debate over foreign aid, and especially in connection with United States Public Law 480, which established the program for concessionary sales of U.S. grain to countries experiencing food deficits. Private charitable appeals served as a third source of public awareness about the hunger of distant peoples. Children in the 1950’s and 1960’s were encouraged to “Trick or Treat for UNICEF,” and organizations dedicated to specifically to hunger relief began to solicit funds. All of these sources suggested at least implicitly that addressing distant hunger was a morally good thing to do, though they did not examine the ethical basis for this suggestion. The most enduring philosophical account of the morality of world hunger has been Peter Singer’s 1972 article “Famine, Affluence and Morality,” in which he argued that even moderately well off people have a moral duty to limit their consumption of “luxuries and frills,” so that they may devote their discretionary income to “those in dire need,” or more specifically famine relief. The key moral premise in Singer’s argument held that “If it is in our power to prevent something very bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything else morally significant, we ought, morally, to do so.” Singer himself believed that the key moral premise not only could be deduced from virtually any moral theory, but also stood as a widely accepted moral intuition based on common sense. Singer’s article has had two main types of response. First, some are impressed by the way that Singer’s argument calls for radical self-sacrifices that reduce people to lifestyles that, though hardly ascetic by historical standards, are far, far less consumptive than those lived by all but even relatively poor people in developed industrial economies. As such, there are a number of attempts to moderate the argument, bringing it more in line with common sense moral intuitions. It is notable that even these attempts typically acknowledge that people have ethical obligations to bring aid, even if these obligations are not as radical as Singer’s argument would suggest. A more widespread (and not mutually exclusive) reaction has been to interpret the radical and surprising nature of Singer’s prescription as a consequence of historical changes that have in fact made ordinary common sense moral intuitions obsolete, or at least inapplicable to the problems of world hunger. Although diverse in their particulars, arguments developing this interpretation take global famine and malnutrition to be a consequence of factors such as the end of the colonial era and wealthy nations’ subsequent exploitation of weaker and poorer peoples through inequitable trade, despoliation of the global environmental commons and alliances of convenience with repressive and corrupt political regimes. What is more, the ease of international trade, travel and communication can be seen as bringing once strange and distant peoples into the circle of one’s moral community. While their theoretical lines of argument differ substantially, a number of philosophical authors see the moral imperatives of hunger as duties arising from the need to remedy inequities and injustices associated with globalization. Such duties did not exist in a world where moral and political relationships were understood as coinciding with national borders, hence there is a genuine need to reconstruct the terms of common sense morality. Because it is not possible to understand our world as one in which the significance of out daily activities does not extend beyond local communities or national states, it is incumbent upon citizens from wealthy nations to think of themselves as morally obligated to redress global famine and malnourishment. Philosophers have never been especially clear on the particular way in which these obligations are to be discharged. Many follow Singer’s lead in focusing on personal gifts of money to various relief organizations, though others single out government-to-government aid programs. I believe that we do no injustice to other authors on world hunger when we construe the recommendation favoring a personal contribution for famine relief as an example or archetype for a more general prescription to support a wide variety of activities intended to promote poverty alleviation and economic development among people less fortunate than the middle classes of the industrialized West. We may also assume that the prescription is limited to activities that are effective in achieving this aim. Philosophers are understandably wary about treading too far into empirical matters that distinguish effective and ineffective forms of assistance, yet evidence about what works is clearly relevant to the conversion of general norms into prescriptions for action. Supporting agricultural research intended to increase or stabilize crop yields is seldom mentioned as a way to meet one’s obligations to ameliorate the extreme needs of hungry people. Yet if we set aside the very real worries about whether any given research project is effective in meeting those needs for the sake of further argument, it is quite reasonable to presume that philosophical arguments for linking world hunger to moral obligation provide support for agricultural and policy research that contributes to this end. This reasoning leads us to a key moral hypothesis. If agricultural biotechnology and the development of GM crops does have the potential to contribute to a lessening of hunger and deprivation over the long run, then people have a moral obligation to support the use of these techniques, at least in so far as they are deployed in pursuit of that end. Furthermore, this obligation overrides less compelling ethical concerns that may exist concerning GM crops. I will call this the Borlaug hypothesis. The empirical dimension of the Borlaug hypothesis can certainly be questioned, and it is significant that a large part of the public debate over “Golden Rice” has concerned its effectiveness as a strategy for addressing Vitamin A deficiencies in the diet of poor people. However, the ethical or philosophical elements of this hypothesis are largely secure given the background of thinking that has just been summarized. Although there many philosophical ways to articulate the exact nature of our personal and political obligations to address issues in world hunger, the voices of people thinking and writing about this issue are virtually unanimous in calling for greater attention to the needs of the hungry. These divergent philosophical rationales converge on a practical imperative to take actions that relieve world hunger, even when these actions require some sacrifice on the part of richer nations. This practical imperative may be plausibly interpreted as supporting agricultural research, including biotechnology, that will help meet the needs of the hungry, now and in the future, just as the Borlaug hypothesis suggests. The Borlaug hypothesis must be understood as subject to a number of unspecified but generally non-controversial ethical constraints. Agricultural or food research that involved risky experimentation on human subjects without their consent would not be justified. In a similar spirit, plans for deploying new agricultural technologies must conform to widely shared ethical standards, such as those articulated in the International Declaration of Human Rights. These qualifications indicate that there is at least one way in which the Borlaug hypothesis might be challenged on philosophical grounds, even granting that GM technology has the potential to increase or nutritionally enhance food supplies available to poor people: One may question whether agricultural biotechnology is the most appropriate response to hunger and malnutrition. “Most appropriate” can be understood as a requirement intended to encourage those hunger relief strategies that are compatible with a broad array of development goals, including the growth of participatory democracy or addressing the neediest people first. I will accept this interpretation without further argument, and submit that anyone who interprets the Borlaug hypothesis to justify the suspension of these widely accepted moral constraints on development practice must surely produce an argument to indicate why. “Most appropriate” might also be interpreted as advocating only the most optimal use of scarce resources. The latter interpretation plunges the argument into empirical matters again, for it suggests that one must assess each strategy available for addressing hunger and compare the likely impact of each in order to determine the optimal way to pursue this end. While some critics might wish to challenge the Borlaug hypothesis on just such grounds, I will not pursue that line of argument in the present context. The Case against Agricultural Biotechnology Arguments against the use of recombinant DNA to introduce genetic novelty into food crops are also quite diverse and complex. Empirical research suggests that products of agricultural biotechnology have been most successfully resisted in countries where there is reduced confidence in government regulation of food safety and environmental impact. This does not, however, prove that concerns about government regulation or risks from agricultural biotechnology form the intellectual grounds on which opponents of biotechnology base their arguments, and in fact a number of analyses suggest that the core issues giving rise to concern about GMOs are ethical in nature. Any summary analysis of these concerns is likely to be controversial in its own right, but most arguments can be classified into one of five main groups. The first group of arguments includes disagreements over the appropriate philosophical parameters for addressing technologically induced risks. Second is a concern that agricultural biotechnology is incompatible with social justice. Third, there are arguments to the effect that biotechnology is unnatural. Fourth, there are arguments that stress the importance of personal autonomy with respect to food choice. Finally, there are aretaic objections that focus on the moral character of the people and groups supporting biotechnology. I will review each category with as much brevity as possible. The main rhetorical vehicle in debate over risk has been the precautionary principle, or alternatively, the precautionary approach. Stated succinctly, the precautionary principle holds that uncertain risks should be given great, perhaps dominant, weight in environmental and food safety decision-making. Uncertain risks are defined in contrast to known risks, which are in turn understood as risks for which both hazard and exposure can be estimated with a high degree of confidence. Here, an anecdote may convey what paragraphs of analytical discussion would not. At a 1999 symposium on GMOs an officer of France’s food safety agency was challenged to explain why they were applying the precautionary principle to GMOs but not to unpasteurized cheese. The answer was, “We know that’s dangerous.” Because risks from unpasteurized cheese are known, the precautionary principle does not apply. In contrast, risks may be classified as uncertain when exposure mechanisms for inducing hazards are not understood, because empirical data on the frequency of hazards is lacking or because analysts may have overlooked a novel hazard that they had no basis to expect, the so-called “unknown unknown.” Critics of the precautionary principle have pointed out that some elements of precaution have long been incorporated into conventional approaches to risk analysis and are, in fact, reflected in regulatory decisions that have approved the release of GMOs. Other elements, such as the concern for unknown unknowns, are ubiquitous and provide no basis for viewing risks associated with GMOs as less certain than risks from conventional foods. More sophisticated philosophical defenses of the precautionary approach in decision-making concerning GM crops are cognizant of these difficulties. One approach is to interpret reference to the precautionary principle as a call for steady and evolutionary development of more sophisticated scientific tools for assessing risks, and for regulators to apply burdens of proof that take evidence for risk very seriously, even when that evidence is not wholly convincing. Whether current regulatory practice for foods reflects such a burden of proof is controversial. An alternative philosophical interpretation of the precautionary approach calls for a broadening of the terms in which new technologies are evaluated. Here, the focus actually has less to do with uncertain risks and more to do with the inclusion of considerations that arise in connection with the four remaining categories of ethical concern. It is to these categories that we now turn. Arguments stressing social justice build upon three prior critiques of agricultural research. The Green Revolution was criticized for tending to benefit relatively better off farmers at the expense of poorer ones, even if beneficiaries are still poor by Western standards. The “technological treadmill” identified by agricultural economist Willard Cochrane suggests that yield enhancing agricultural technologies generally produce temporary benefits for early adopters at the expense of late adopters, who can eventually lose their farms entirely fueling the trend toward fewer and larger farms. These two arguments suggest that the benefits of agricultural research are inconsistent with the goals of distributive justice, though both arguments neglect the benefits that increased yields have for consumers when there adjustments in the price of food. The third critique accuses developed world agricultural researchers of “biopiracy,” when they collect germplasm developed by poor farmers and use it to develop certified or patented crop varieties. All three arguments were extended to agricultural biotechnology in part simply because it was, in the 1980’s, the latest thing in agricultural research. The biopiracy argument was particularly pertinent in virtue of the way that recombinant DNA techniques for isolating, identifying and transferring genes introduced new ways in which intellectual property rights (IPRs) could be claimed on genetic resources. Prior to the advent of this technology, IPRs could be applied to crop varieties, and the most common form of legal protection under U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act recognized farmers’ rights to save seed for future use. With biotechnology came patents on specific genes, multiplying the ways in which IPRs could be claimed and potentially limiting farmers’ rights to save seed and interbreed purchased seed with local varieties. While all these arguments from social justice make important moral points about the design and implementation of agricultural research that is intended to help the poor, what they establish are conditions that agricultural biotechnology would need to meet in order to attain legitimacy, rather than unilateral arguments against any use of biotechnology whatsoever. A third class of arguments concern whether GM crops are unnatural. It is clear that some people feel that they are, and Prince Charles well known statement about genetically engineered food crops provides an excellent example of one way to arrive at this judgment. Another type of argument stresses the simple repugnance that many feel in response to genetically engineered foods. These arguments are definitely the minority view among academically trained philosophers, however, who point out that our ideas of what is and what is not natural undergo a remarkable amount of change over time. Critics of the view that biotechnology is “unnatural” argue that it is difficult to maintain any clear conception of “naturalness” that can be both supported by scientific conceptions of nature and yield clean ethical principles for thinking one way about GM crops while thinking differently about the products of traditional plant breeding. I have recently argued that there is a different way to conceptualize the “unnatural” critique of agricultural biotechnology and that philosophers’ tendency to set aside these arguments reflects a way of thinking conditioned by problems in medical, rather than agricultural, ethics. But because I do not believe that my own analysis provides the basis for a strong argument against biotechnology, I will not pursue those arguments here. I have also argued (and here I think many philosophers would agree) that even if concerns about the naturalness of GM crops do not provide convincing arguments for social policies that would ban or discriminate against them, such concerns do indeed provide individuals all the reason they need to avoid them as matters of personal practice. Put another way, one should not be required to produce a risk assessment to justify one’s personal preference for acting on religious or aesthetic values, personal beliefs about what is or is not natural, or even idiosyncratic views on what constitutes wholesome food. Even if we do not agree with these personal judgments, we should respect an individual’s right to make dietary choices that conform to his or her personal vision of what is natural. This point leads to the fourth class of arguments. Arguments in the fourth class of ethical concerns note that individual consumers may have a number of personal values that are incompatible with eating foods from GMO’s. Mainstreaming GM crops into commodity production and processing could have the effect of making it impossible for people to act on the basis of such values when consuming food. The ethical significance of this possibility is to compromise individuals’ ability to lead lives that conform to freely chosen religious, political and personal values. The fact that foods enter one’s body and are traditional carriers of cultural and religious tradition suggests that such compromise is a significant challenge to personal autonomy. The policy implications point toward discussions of labeling, costs of segregating GMOs from non-GMOs, and the distribution of costs from doing so. Ethical debate concerns the legitimacy and weight that should be given to such dietary concerns. Some commentators see the personal autonomy issues associated with labeling and consumer consent as a surrogate for a more systematic divide in which the “pro-biotech” viewpoint tends to reduce all ethical issues to a cost-benefit calculus, treating all issues as resolvable in terms of the impact on total social utility. This way of thinking implies that greater social utility offsets compromise of personal autonomy, suggesting that greater net social benefit justifies activities that violate individual rights. Here, the issue comes to a head in manner that reproduces the two century long philosophical debate between utilitarian and neo-Kantian moral theory. From the neo-Kantian or rights perspective, the utilitarians exhibit a lack of concern for personal autonomy that manifests itself as willingness to treat individuals and their rights as “means” that can be sacrificed to pursue socially justifiable “ends.” While neo-Kantians and utilitarians debate over the foundations of morality, other philosophers might argue that even though sometimes we do indeed find it necessary to sacrifice individuals and their rights for more compelling social ends, the problem with the utilitarians lies in the way that they seem wholly untroubled by this kind of sacrifice. Optimizing arguments make it so easy to override individual rights that we begin to question the moral character of people who rely on them too readily (or exclusively). Shouldn’t one at least regard the sacrifice of autonomy or rights as tragic and regrettable? This kind of argument spills over into the final category, aretaic objections to GMOs. The word ‘aretaic’ is from the Greek arete, meaning excellence or virtue. The thrust of these concerns is to suggest either that the use of rDNA technologies is contrary to virtue, or that those who have developed and promoted GMOs have engaged in behavior that is contrary to virtue. In the latter case, lack of virtue is sometimes associated with the “reductionism” of those who develop and promote biotechnology. “Reductionism” may refer to philosophies of science that interpret life processes as wholly reducible to physics and chemistry, to worldviews or practices that seem to regard life, nature and even other people as lacking any spiritual dimension or sanctity, or to the belief that the subjectivity of values makes discussion of them a waste of time. Evidence for poor character might also be seen in unrelenting pursuit of personal gain at the expense of others’ rights or ideals of the public good, or in a tendency to misrepresent opponents and to treat their objections simply as obstacles to be set aside through whatever means. Neglect of social justice and consumer autonomy might well be interpreted as a sign of weak moral character. For many critics who advance aretaic criticisms, the weak moral character of the “pro-biotech” camp provides a reason to be especially cautious in one’s dealings with them. If those who develop and promote GMOs are not to be trusted because they have poor moral character, then it is rational to be wary of these products, to see them as risky. A mutually reinforcing feedback loop begins to develop, where lack of attention to key ethical issues is seen as evidence of poor moral character, and poor moral character is seen as evidence for risk. This evidence does not derive from facts about GMOs or their fate in the environment or the human body, but from facts about the danger that we associate with people who fail to treat others with respect, or who displace serious moral issues with strategic or manipulative argumentation. As this loop becomes established, the precautionary principle can now be applied to the “uncertain risks” associated with GMOs in virtue of their shady associations. Such risks do not become better known by producing a conventional risk assessment. They can only be addressed when advocates for the technology desist from conduct that is seen as contrary to moral excellence and re-establish a basis for trust through honest and respectful dealings. This feedback loop allows a form of translation to cut across these five argument forms, so that moral concerns may be interpreted as risks, and the failure to address risks is interpreted as a moral problem. I have long argued that this feedback loop lies at the heart of much public resistance to GMOs, and that it explains the unpredictability, self-righteousness and explosiveness of opponents’ behavior. I also believe that although I do not find myself to be sorely tempted by the translations that generate this feedback, it is perfectly rational for someone having less “insider” access to the agricultural sciences than I have to react this way. Connecting the Dots Given a strong presumptive argument favoring agricultural biotechnology on the grounds that it can play a role in addressing world hunger, do the arguments against it provide any basis for overturning that presumption? This question can be put other ways. Are these ethical concerns about agricultural biotechnology overridden or countered by biotechnology’s capacity to address problems of world hunger? Do people who advance these concerns have a morally based reason to stifle their qualms and accept agricultural biotechnology because of its potential to address world hunger? Does a positive evaluation of agricultural biotechnology’s potential to address hunger entail a rejection of the arguments against it? While each way of framing the question suggests a different set of nuances, the substantive issues raised by all of them can be addressed by working systematically through each of the five main anti-GM arguments and examining how biotechnology’s potential to address global hunger and malnutrition provides a response to them. Biotechnology’s potential to relieve world hunger provides a very strong response to the most typical interpretations of the precautionary principle. Gary Comstock has produced a very persuasive demonstration of the way that broad interpretations of the precautionary principle produce self- contradictory policy prescriptions in the domain of agriculture and food. Even barring these problems, the compelling needs of the world’s hungry people must certainly override the views of those who see uncertain risk and little personal benefit to biotechnology. If one accepts the empirical assumptions of the Borlaug hypothesis (that is, that biotechnology is an important weapon against hunger), it is difficult to see how speculative concerns arising from uncertainty could outweigh its ethical force. If, on the other hand, the point of noting uncertainties is to question whether biotechnology actually does have any capacity to help the needy, then the argument drifts into matters on which moral philosophers are wise to remain silent (at least for a few more paragraphs). One might think that arguments from social justice would provide the most potent source of opposition to the Borlaug hypothesis. On the contrary, however, arguments from social justice stipulate a series of norms to which any socially just form of agricultural technology must conform. As such, these arguments spell out in more detail some of the constraints that have been previously characterized as “widely accepted,” and apply them more specifically to situations relevant to agricultural technology. As previously noted, these arguments do not provide a basis for unilateral opposition to GM crops or foods, but do so only to the extent that these technologies are implemented in an autocratic manner that sacrifices the interests of many people that development assistance policies are intended to help. As such, concerns arising from social justice are not only compatible with the Borlaug hypothesis, but represent precisely the conditions under which any ethical acceptable interpretation of the Borlaug hypothesis would have to be implemented. Thus, social justice does not so much represent an ethical or philosophical challenge to agricultural biotechnology as it does a set of criteria that biotechnology must meet in fact. Whether any given project attempting to use biotechnology to aid the poor does in fact meet these tests is an important, indeed vital, question, yet there is little to dispute philosophically on this point. Objections raising questions about biotechnology’s naturalness or about its consistency with personal autonomy can also be dispensed with fairly quickly, if not altogether cleanly. Clearly, someone who feels that GM crops are unnatural, irreligious or repugnant may oppose their use to aid the poor. Yet if one is inclined to regard these concerns as relevant largely to the extent that they represent legitimate personal values that deserve protection, the key issue will be whether people holding these values are given adequate opportunity to act upon them. This question points toward two distinct ethical problem sets. One concerns relatively wealthy people who purchase food in industrial food systems. Does their insistence on labels, segregation of GM and non-GM grain and the like impose an ethically unacceptable burden on the poor? This is, of course, a more specific form of the general question that is the central topic of the paper. At this juncture in the analysis, it is fair to say that if the repercussions of insisting on one’s values include the starvation and malnourishment of others, the answer must certainly be “Yes.” Although it is important for liberal societies to give their citizens wide latitude for adopting and living out life values, and although life values relating to food may be a particularly significant subset of those life values that are protected by liberty of conscience, the evil being endured by the hungry is greater still. Protecting the religious and personal liberties of one group does not justify action or policy that causes others to starve. Of course, simply asserting that policies protecting liberty of conscience cause such dire harms does not make it so. Following this line of questioning to the bitter end would require some hard debate about the nature of international commodity markets and their capacity to deliver non-GM crops to those that want them without unduly harming the poor. The second problem set concerns poor people who are being helped through the development of these GM crops. Have they been given adequate opportunity to apply their own values in deciding whether to adopt or eat GM crops? While it is immanently plausible to believe that concerns about “naturalness” or “repugnance” mean little to a hungry person, to simply assume that this is the case fails to treat the recipients of aid with the respect they deserve. As such, there is a genuine need to introduce GM crops intended to benefit the hungry in a manner that both elicits relevant values and that gives the intended beneficiaries an opportunity to accept or reject the largess of the international agricultural research system. This is not a simple task, to be sure, for it must be done in a manner that does not in itself cause suspicion about the safety of biotechnology or the intentions of donors. It is reasonable to suspect that there are unresolved ethical issues lurking here. Technically trained experts in biotechnology often express the view that their products will be eagerly adopted by intended beneficiaries, while there is strong evidence to the contrary in the form of local resistance to biotechnology. However, even this initial description of the task implies that the argument has shifted strongly in the direction of procedural norms that developers of GM crops must follow, much as with respect to arguments referring to social justice. As such, the problems arising in connection with intended beneficiaries’ views on the naturalness of biotechnology, as well as with respect to the autonomy with which they are able to express and act on their own values, do not contradict the Borlaug hypothesis. Instead they represent side constraints that apply to all applications of agricultural research that are intended to feed the hungry, including those involving biotechnology. To summarize thus far, I have defended the Borlaug hypothesis against those who express ethical concerns expressed in connection with the precautionary principle and in connection with the right of relative wealthy people to make food choices that conform to their cultural values, including views on whether GM crops are “natural.” However, I have noted that in both cases my defense depends upon resolving empirical questions in a manner that favors the optimistic assumptions of the Borlaug hypothesis. I have argued that concerns for social justice and for the autonomy of intended beneficiaries of GM crops are better interpreted as “side constraints” that do not overturn or override the Borlaug hypothesis’s commitment to biotechnology, but instead limit the set of ethically acceptable strategies for implementing any agricultural research program, including those involving biotechnology. What, then, are we to say about the last group of ethical concerns? Does the Borlaug hypothesis provide a reason to overlook or sublimate concerns about the moral character of those who advocate GM crops? Virtue Ethics and the Probability of Success Anyone who is inclined to think about the ethics of world hunger in outcome-oriented terms is likely to answer this question in the affirmative. That is, if getting the hungry fed is what matters at the end of the day, then it is difficult to see why weak moral character in the people doing the feeding should contravene an otherwise successful effort. This kind of reasoning is especially relevant to a number of questions involving charitable assistance or aid. Suppose someone advocates the giving of aid not because of any feeling of moral responsibility or desire to help the needy, but because they want to be admired by others in their circle of friends, or because they want a tax deduction, or because they work for a company that will benefit economically from the aid program. These are all cases where the person advocating assistance acts from less than virtuous motives, yet in none of these cases would the defective moral character of the advocate provide a powerful argument against the aid program that is advocated. What matters here is whether the aid program can be justified on its own merits, and if the moral case for extending aid has already been made (as is the case with the Borlaug hypothesis) this justification turns upon the probability that the desired outcome will actually occur. Any estimate of this probability must be based upon the available evidence and will involve a number of wholly empirical questions, but some of the important questions are not wholly empirical concerns, and these are questions concerning which evidence to consider and to whom that evidence is available. People such as Borlaug himself have a lifetime of experience in developing new crops to address hunger, and will base their estimate of the probability of success on that experience. In addition, there are technical studies on the effectiveness of past agricultural research in addressing hunger, and these studies can be extrapolated to the case of GM crops. This extrapolation is not itself a technical exercise, however, and requires both a firm understanding of the theory and data on which these studies rely and an ability to determine whether limitations in the studies do or do not make them a good basis for estimating the probability that GM crops will have similar success. In either case, then, there are elements of personal judgment that cannot be eliminated from the probability assessment. Furthermore, people who are in a position to exercise this kind of personal judgment are almost certain to be personally involved in agricultural research or development assistance at some level. For short, I will call such people “insiders.” What kind of evidence is available to “outsiders,” to people for whom the above-mentioned types of evidence are distinctly unavailable? Basically, their evidence that GM crops will help the hungry takes the form of insider testimony. How would a rational individual evaluate this kind of evidence? The question that rational people will ask themselves is, “Should I believe what the insiders say?” Here, the moral character of the insiders is relevant. Lacking any independent knowledge of whether agricultural research, especially research involving GM crops, will or will not help the hungry, a rational person will take the motives, interests and any other evidence bearing on the character of the insiders into account when making an assessment of whether they are to be believed. The Borlaug hypothesis differs from many ordinary cases in which we are inclined to ignore the motives or character of those who advocate for aid because unless we are ourselves insiders, the primary judgment we are making concerns whether or not to believe what the insiders say. Of course, many readers of this paper are insiders, as I am myself. For these readers, I must ask for a special effort to put oneself in the position of someone who knows nothing about agricultural science or the individuals and organizations that pursue it. For someone like this, the evidence that GM crops will help address hunger consists wholly in terms of direct insider testimony (for example, the articles and interviews in which Borlaug or others advocate biotechnology) and journalists’ accounts that are themselves based on insider testimony. If the outsider who evaluates these reports believes that the insiders are knowledgeable, forthright and reasonably well intentioned, they are likely to believe what the insiders say. Furthermore, the person we are imagining is likely to be much more capable of assessing evidence on whether the insiders are forthright and well intentioned than on whether they are knowledgeable. Seeing that insiders possess Ph.D.’s and professorships may be the only evidence an outsider has about the state of their knowledge, but an outsider can bring a wealth of information to bear on whether they are forthright and well intentioned. Some of the key issues are fairly obvious. Are insiders disinterested advocates, or do they stand to gain either financially or in prestige if biotechnology is pursued? How are insiders linked to the biotechnology industry? Finding out that insiders’ work is often funded by industry, that their universities are seeking patents for which some them, at least, will reap financial rewards or that private firms have a contractual right to commercialize public sector research might provide a reason to question the motives of insiders. Yet none of these things would prove that insiders were less than forthright or ill intentioned. In fact, some less obvious issues may be more decisive. Have insiders paid careful attention to matters that have been described above as side-constraints? Have they been attentive to social justice? Have they taken pains to ensure that the intended beneficiaries of their research are truly participating in a fully informed and fully empowered way? Are they attentive to ethical, legal and cultural concerns when they advocate for biotechnology? Given the fact that there are conflicting points of view being expressed with regard to these issues, an outsider might consider whether the insiders are dealing with this controversy in a thorough and respectful manner. That is, do the advocates of GM crops show evidence of having listened to the arguments of their detractors? Do they make responses that are on point and that either rebut their opponents’ claims or explain why they are not relevant? Alternatively, do they show little evidence of having taken their opponents seriously? Do they either ignore the arguments altogether or do they caricature and distort arguments in a manner that misses the point, making the concern seem silly? In short, are insiders committed to a serious discussion and resolution of contested issues, or do they deal with them as strategic obstacles to be overcome by whatever means necessary? Of course, these questions lie at the heart of aretaic concerns. Hence we cannot conclude that the Borlaug hypothesis overrides aretaic concerns, but rather that questions about the virtue of insiders are critical to assessing the probability that biotechnology will actually help the poor, at least in so far as that assessment is based upon evidence that is accessible to the general public at large. The Ethical Bottom Line As a matter of philosophy, I have argued that despite the initial plausibility and limited validity of the claim that duties to aid the hungry through agricultural research override the concerns of biotechnology’s detractors, an ethically defensible interpretation demands that some of the detractors’ concerns act as side-constraints on the way agricultural research can be implemented, while others, specifically aretaic concerns, actually provide evidence that biotechnology will not help the poor. The nature of this evidence is positional, however. Those inside the agricultural research/development assistance establishment have access to other evidence suggesting just the opposite. But the Borlaug hypothesis is not directed to insiders. The intended audience is not other agricultural researchers, but rather thoughtful people who might be persuaded to moderate their qualms about biotechnology in light of its capacity to feed the poor. But if the issue is to be decided on the basis of publicly available information, the virtue of insiders itself becomes a relevant datum. Because I consider myself to be an insider, I find my self in the ironic position of concluding that although I personally believe that biotechnology can be very useful in meeting the needs of the hungry irrespective of the researchers’ virtue, it would be irrational for an outsider (that is for a member of the general public) to neglect virtue in assessing the ethical case for and against GM crops. What can we say about the virtue of ag biotech insiders? That is, is this just a case where the public is making a tragic mistake? Or alternatively, have research insiders actually failed to perform many of the duties that would make a fair-minded outsider see them as forthright and well intentioned? As with most cases where one attempts to assess the virtue of a group, the record is mixed. On one hand, there are many agricultural scientists who are thoughtful, who have been attentive to issues and who have done useful service to the public’s understanding of the debate. Ethical issues are discussed in many ag science courses, scientists have participated in public forums and there are a number of publications by biotechnology insiders that at least attempt to weigh the pros and cons in a deliberative fashion. On the other hand, we insiders know that there are many researchers who are either dismissive or too busy to pay much attention to the debate. There are also a few who seem to act on truly disreputable motives. My personal, anecdotal assessment is that the truly virtuous are roughly offset by the truly disreputable, leaving the field to the dismissive and busy. This tips the balance toward a less than favorable assessment of insiders’ virtue when they are viewed as a group. Even among those who take up the pen and write in favor of biotechnology, very few display any evidence of having actually read any of their opponents’ views. Citations to opponents’ views are even rarer and patient attempts to restate and fairly represent opponents’ positions before launching into the pro-biotech agenda are the rarest of all. As such, I conclude that if there is blame to be distributed for the hostility that even benevolent applications of agricultural biotechnology now face, a large share of that blame must be shouldered by the agricultural research community itself. An outside observer of this debate who voices skepticism about GM crops cannot be held morally responsible for the unfulfilled promise of biotechnology as a response to world hunger. This does not exclude the possibility that some critics might have spread deliberate falsehoods or engaged in behavior that was strategically calculated to bias the public against biotechnology in much the way that industry public relations campaigns have been calculated to bias the public in its favor. Such critics could be found morally culpable. But those critics who have expressed honest concerns and have been disappointed when research insiders do not respond in a deliberative and forthright manner cannot be similarly blamed. This conclusion is not an anti-biotechnology conclusion. Recombinant techniques for developing new crops should be deployed in the fight against hunger, and ordinary citizens not only should support this deployment, but should seek ways to ensure that the industrial world’s taste for non-GM crops does not preclude the use of biotechnology to help the hungry. Given the current state of the debate, however, it is quite rational for someone who lacks extensive personal, face-to-face contact with the plant scientists, molecular geneticists, entomologists and other agricultural scientists who actually develop these crops to be very skeptical of these recommendations. Thus these insiders should be more active in the public deliberation on biotechnology, and more respectful of opponents’ point of view. This is not to say that they must agree, but they ought, at a minimum, to be capable of restating the positions of their opponents in a manner that they accept as an accurate characterization of the key points. Telling the doubtful to pipe down because we are busy helping the poor is not a respectful response. Insiders should then be willing to state clearly why they do not accept an argument, and they should be willing to listen carefully to any further reply that opponents care to make, replying themselves once again, if necessary. That is what virtue in the realm of public discourse demands. I cannot say whether more virtuous future conduct on the part of agricultural research insiders will be effective in restoring the public’s confidence. There is a real possibility that the wells have been poisoned and that only time can repair the damage. The toll of world hunger makes this observation tragic, and I can only hope that I am wrong. It is possible that an aggressive public relations campaign might turn the tide on public opinion, but from an ethics perspective this kind of response looks very much like the dismissive and manipulative kind of behavior that has been the root of the problem all along. At a minimum, however, it would appear that agricultural research institutions have a responsibility to entrust the defense of their activities to people who are less busy and dismissive than the majority of their scientific staff, and more substantive and ethically sophisticated than the public relations officials to whom it often falls by default. In conclusion, the Borlaug hypothesis fails. Given the mixed record of agricultural insiders’ willingness to engage thoughtful and serious criticisms with equally thoughtful responses, and to show that key side constraints are in fact being observed, one should not moderate one’s qualms about biotechnology simply because Norman Borlaug, Paul Thompson or any other single individual in the agricultural research establishment says that it will help address world hunger. In other contexts, I will continue to assert that GM crops are valid tools for addressing world hunger, but I will not assert that this is a sufficient reason to stifle one’s doubts, to silence one’s questions or to end one’s political opposition to them. Bibliographic Afterward In the interests of enhancing the readability of this essay, extensive scholarly citations are omitted from the running text. This concluding section provides a brief synoptic discussion of the published literature supporting the text above. Throughout the paper I use terminology such as terminology such as “GM,” “GMO” and “agricultural biotechnology,” to refer broadly to plants, animals or microbes that have been transformed using recombinant DNA. These terms are clearly imprecise and could be construed as misleading. In one sense, all agricultural plants and animals are “genetically modified.” In other contexts finer grained distinctions (such as whether transgenes were derived from the same or a different species, or whether the term “biotechnology” should include adult-cell mammalian clones) would be relevant. In the present context, the discussion primarily concerns agricultural food crops, and the terminology used here has been widely (if in some cases grudgingly) accepted. The controversy itself is discussed from a social science perspective in Biotechnology: The Making of a Global Controversy, (Cambrdge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002) edited by M. W. Bauer and G. Gaskell, and from an agricultural science perspective in Seeds of Contention: World Hunger and the Global Controversy Over GM Crops, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000) by Per Pinstrup- Andersen and Ebbe Schiøler. Michael Ruse and David Castle have edited a collection of essays entitled Genetically Modified Foods: Debating Biotechnology (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Press, 2002) that collects a useful sample of the pro and con positions discussed above. This anthology includes a number of representative papers on the debate over Golden Rice, including Ingo Potrykus’s “Golden Rice and the Greenpeace Dilemma,” which I take to be a model of what insiders should do. Richard Sherlock and John Morrey are the editors of a more comprehensive collection entitled Ethical Issues in Biotechnology. Lanham, MA: Rowman and Allenheld, 2002) that also includes papers on topics in medical ethics. Borlaug’s views have been aired on at least one television broadcast (Bill Moyers’ NOW, October, 2002) and published in a number of outlets, including an editorial in the Feb. 6, 2000 Wall Street Journal (We Need Biotech to Feed the World) and a longer 2001 article published as “Ending World Hunger. The Promise of Biotechnology and the Threat of Antiscience Zealotry,” in Plant Physiology 124: 487-490, and also in the Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Sciences, Volume 89 (2001). Singer’s paper was published in Philosophy and Public Affairs 1(1972): 229-248. Ethicist Joseph Fletcher collaborated with ecologist Garrett Hardin on an argument intended to show why it would be ethically justifiable to stifle the impulse to feed the hungry in a world of unchecked population growth. Their work can be found in George R. Lucas and Thomas W. Ogletree, Eds. Lifeboat Ethics: The Moral Dilemmas of World Hunger (New York: Harper & Row, 1976). The Singer-Fletcher-Hardin debate was carried over into a definitive collection of philosophical viewpoints on the ethics of hunger edited by William Aiken and Hugh LaFollette, World Hunger and Moral Obligation (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1977). Other essays were added to the debate in Food Policy: The Responsibility of the U.S. in the Life and Death Choices (New York: Free Press, 1977) edited by Peter Brown and Henry Shue, including an important discussion on hunger as a problem of global injustice by Thomas Nagel and Singer’s reply to some of the problems that had been noted in the original “famine relief argument”. Articles questioning the extreme nature of the moral obligations seemingly entailed by Singer’s analysis have continued to appear, (see Richard W. Miller, “Beneficence, Duty and Distance,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (2004): 357-383). Subsequent philosophical work on the global nature of hunger as an ethical problem has appeared in book length studies by Henry Shue, Basic Rights (Princeton, NJ:, Princeton University Press, 1990); Onora O’Neill, Faces of Hunger, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986); Peter Unger, Living High and Letting Die: Our Illusion of Innocence (Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1996) and Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms, (Cambridge, UK: Blackwell Publishers, 2002). My own contribution to this literature focused on possible political conflicts between a government’s duties to serve the interests of its citizens and cosmopolitan duties to give aid, see Paul B. Thompson, The Ethics of Aid and Trade, Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1992). This volume includes more detailed discussion of the various philosophical positions on hunger, including the differences between consequentialist viewpoints, such as those of Singer or Unger, and neo-Kantian views such as those of Shue, who expresses the morality of hunger in terms of rights, or O’Neill, who utilizes a logic of duties following from the characteristics of agency. Pogge represents a new generation of philosophers (in which I include myself) who have been impressed by the work Amartya Sen, and who tend to address hunger as one component in a larger complex of economic and political issues. Although the philosophical differences of approach represented by these authors are should not be minimized, it is likely that all would support a broad mandate for agricultural research, and that all would also see the considerations discussed in this paper as at least relevant to the application of that mandate to agricultural biotechnology. In addition to the papers by Norman Borlaug cited above, the Borlaug hypothesis can be found in articles such as Anthony Trewavas’s,. “Much Food, Many Problems,” Nature 17(1999):231-232 and Florence Wambugu’s “Why Africa Needs Agricultural Biotech,” Both of these papers are in the Ruse and Castle volume. Philosopher Gregory Pence makes a longer but still very broad case for the Borlaug hypothesis in his book Designer Genes: Mutant Harvest or Breadbasket of the World? Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield, 2002. Each of these works is notable for the paucity of references to or discussion of published books and articles by critics of biotechnology. Gary Comstock has developed a philosophically sophisticated version of the argument implied by the Borlaug hypothesis in his book Vexing Nature: On the Ethical Case Against Agricultural Biotechnology. Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000, and more concise version of his argument can be found in Gary Comstock, “Ethics and Genetically Modified Foods,” http://scope.educ.washington.edu/gmfood/commentary/show.php?author=Comstock which is also included in the Ruse and Castle volume. Arguments against agricultural biotechnology were discussed at some length in my book Food Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective (London: Chapman and Hall, 1997) and more succinctly in a white paper for the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Commission: Food and Agricultural Biotechnology: Incorporating Ethical Considerations. Ottowa: 2000, (available online at http://cbac-cccb.ca). Empirical support for the contention that ethical arguments reside at the core of even risk-based concerns about GM crops can be found in: Paul Sparks, Roger Shepherd and Lynn Frewer, “Gene Technology, Food Production and Public Opinion: A U.K. Study” Agr. & Human Values 11 (1994): 19-28; Lynn J. Frewer, Roger Shepherd and Paul Sparks, “Public Concerns in the United Kingdom about General and Specific Aspects of Genetic Engineering: Risk, Benefit and Ethics,” Sci., Tech. & Human Values 22 (1997): 98-124. Biotechnology in the Public Sphere, John Durant, Martin W. Bauer and George Gaskell, Eds, London: The Science Museum, 1998; George Gaskell and Martin W. Bauer, eds, Biotechnology: The Years of Controversy London: The Science Museum, 2001; and Susanna Priest’s A Grain of Truth, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001. Perhaps the best overall resource on the conceptual basis for the precautionary principle is Joel Ticknor and Carolyn Raffensperger, eds. Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle, (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999), although this volume does not discuss GM crops. The Ruse and Castle volume includes a paper by Florence Dagicour entitled “Protecting the Environment: from Nucleons to Nucleotides,” but other papers in the volume by Indur Goklany and by Henry Miller and Gregory Conko are critical of the precautionary approach is it is generally understood by its advocates. Another useful critical paper is Henk Van den Belt’s “Debating the Precautionary Principle: "Guilty until Proven Innocent" or "Innocent until Proven Guilty"? Plant Physiology 132 (2003): 1122-1126. Among the philosophically sophisticated publications advocating its use with respect to biotechnology, see Carl F. Cranor, “How Should Society Approach the Real and Potential Risks Posed by New Technologies?” Plant Physiology 133(2003): 3-9 and Michiel Korthals, “Ethics of Differences in Risk Perception and Views on Food Safety,” Food Protection Trends 24, #7 (2004): 30-35. With respect to issues in social justice and the broader critique of agricultural research, I would refer readers to my 1997 book, mentioned above. Any brief survey of recent literature on social justice issues must also note the extensive writings of Vandana Shiva. The report from the U.K.’s Nuffield Council on Bioethics http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org/ discusses social justice in detail, and the 2003 follow-up report The Use of Genetically Modified Crops in Developing Countries is especially relevant. The Nuffield Council studies are support the analysis in the paper in claiming that social justice issues are constraints on the implementation of GM crops, rather than arguments against them. More targeted, specific and recent studies include: David Magnus, “Intellectual Property and Agricultural Biotechnology: Bioprospecting or Biopiracy?” in Who Owns Life? D. Magnus and G. McGee, eds. (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002) pp. 265-276, and Maarten J. Chrispeels, “Biotechnology and the Poor,” Plant Physiology 124(2000): 3-6. The Ruse and Castle volume addresses this topic both through the Golden Rice papers and through one by Robert Tripp, “Twixt Cup and Lip: Biotechnology and Resource Poor Farmers.” Cochrane summarizes his treatment of the treadmill argument in The Development of American Agriculture: A Historical Analysis (Minneapolis: U. Minnesota Press, 1979). Prince Charles’ radio address is reprinted in Ruse and Castle, and an editorial “My 10 Fears for GM Food” appeared in the June 1, 1999 edition of The Daily Mail. Philosophical statements to the effect that biotechnology might be “unnatural” owe a debt to literature in medical ethics. Leon Kass, the chairman of President George W. Bush’s advisory group on bioethics wrote a plea against cloning entitled “The Wisdom of Repugnance,” The New Republic June 2, 1997: 17-26. Kass’s article provides an argument that can be applied broadly, not solely to human beings, and the argument has indeed been adapted specifically to the case of genetically engineered food in Mary Midgley, ‘Biotechnology and Monstrosity,” The Hastings Center Report 30 5 (2000): 7-15. A similar but slightly toned down line of argument can be found in Ruth Chadwick, “Novel, Natural, Nutritious: Towards a Philosophy of Food,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (2000): 193-208. Perhaps the following article is among the most radical in articulating the view that genetically engineered food is unnatural: Jochen. Bockmühl, 2001. “A Goethean View of Plants: Unconventional Approaches,” In Intrinsic Value and Integrity of Plants in the Context of Genetic Engineering, D. Heaf and J. Wirz, Eds. Llanystumdwy, UK: International Forum for Genetic Engineering, pp. 26-31. Other articles in this collection are worth checking out for those who hope to find a basis for thinking biotechnology unnatural. The Pence and Comstock volumes already noted can be counted as critical treatments of the “GM crops are unnatural” argument, and Comstock’s views can also be found in “Is it unnatural to genetically engineer plants?” Weed Science 46 (1998): 647-651, as well as the Comstock contribution to Ruse and Castle. Michael J. Reiss and Roger Straughn provide a very thorough discussion in Improving Nature: The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1996.Arguments that biotechnology might be unnatural are also ridiculed and rebutted by Bernard Rollin in The Frankenstein Syndrome. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1995. One of the most widely reprinted articles is Mark Sagoff’s, “Biotechnology and the Natural,” Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly 21(2001): 1-5, http://www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP/reports/Spring-Summer%20Vol21%202001/vol21.html My article discusses Sagoff’s, which is reprinted in the same volume: “Unnatural Farming and the Debate over Genetic Manipulation,” in Genetic Prospects: Essays on Biotechnology, Ethics and Public Policy. V. V. Gehring, Ed. Lanham, MD: 2003, Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 27-40. Philosophical discussions of autonomy and the rights of consumers can be found in Debra Jackson, “Labeling Products of Biotechnology: Towards Communication and Consent,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12(2000): 319-330; Paul B. Thompson, “Why Food Biotechnology Needs an Opt Out,” in Engineering the Farm: Ethical and Social Aspects of Agricultural Biotechnology. B. Bailey and M. Lappé, Eds. Washington, DC: 2002, Island Press, pp. 27-44; and Robert Streiffer and Alan Rubel, “Democratic Principles and Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food,” Public Affairs Quarterly 18(2004): 205-222. Although I am unaware of philosophers who take a classically utilitarian view of the food choice issue, the utilitarian viewpoint on labeling and choice is frequently taken by people who do not even seem to be aware that they are doing so. See, for example, Donna U. Vogt, 1999. Food Biotechnology in the United States: Science Regulation, and Issues. Washington, D. C., Congressional Research Service, Order Code RL30198. Bernard Williams was the philosopher who encouraged us to rethink utilitarians’ willingness to sacrifice autonomy and rights as a problem with their moral character. See his contributions to J. C. C. Smart and B. Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press, 1973). Aretaic objections to food biotechnology are evident in Brewster Kneen’s “A Naturalist Looks at Agricultural Biotechnology,” in Engineering the Farm: Ethical and Social Aspects of Agricultural Biotechnology. B. Bailey and M. Lappé, Eds. Washington, DC: 2002, Island Press, pp. 45-60, and such arguments are nicely analyzed by Ronald Sandler, “An Aretaic Objection to Agricultural Biotechnology,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 17(2004): 301-317, which includes further citations to aretaic arguments. The “reductionism” theme has been an important element of Shiva’s critique, especially in a relatively early collection that she edited with Ingunn Moser entitled Biopolitics: A Feminist and Ecological Reader on Biotechnology, (Zed Books: 1995, London). See especially Shiva’s concluding essay “Beyond Reductionism.” The reductionism theme has been continued especially forcefully in a book by Finn Bowring, Science, Seeds and Cyborgs: Biotechnology and the Appropriation of Life, London: 2003, Verso Press. Articles in the Ruse and Castle collection also discuss key points relevant to moral character and role of ethics in the debate over biotechnology. See especially the contributions of David Magnus and Arthur Caplan, “Food for Thought: The Primacy of the Moral in the GMO Debate,” Ambuj Sagar, Arthur Daemmrich and Mona Ashiya, “The Tragedy of the Commoners: Biotechnology and its Publics,” and Marc Saner, “Real and Metaphorical Moral Limits in the Biotech Debate.” I discussed the “feedback loop” that I mention here in the final chapter of Food Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective. One can see it in action in an article by Sheldon Krimsky, “Risk Assessment and Regulation of Bioengineered Food Products,” International Journal of Biotechnology 2 (2002): 31-238. More broadly, the idea that risk and trust are closely correlated is now fairly well established in risk studies. See Douglas Powell and William Leiss, Mad Cows And Mother's Milk : The Perils Of Poor Risk Communication. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1997, for its treatment of issues relating to risk perception, political participation and trust. The book has a chapter on GM food that was published with a note indicating that the text was felt to be unduly accepting of the pro-GM point of view by the graduate research assistants who assisted Powell and Leiss. The point on “poisoning the wells,” that emerges in the final section is drawn from a paper with that title by Annette Baier in Values at Risk, D. MacLean, ed. (Totowa, NJ: Rowman & Allenheld, 1986), pp. 49-74. The philosophical views that form the basis of my approach in the concluding sections of the paper are grounded in a modification of Jürgen Habermas’s discourse ethics, which has been exposited primarily in his two books, Moral Consciousness and Communicative Action (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990) and Justifications and Applications (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1993). I have given non-technical discussions of the approach intended for agricultural scientists in two papers: "From a Philosopher's Perspective, How Should Animal Scientists Meet the Challenge of Contentious Issues?" Journal of Animal Science 77(1999): 372-377, and “Toward a Discourse Ethics for Animal Biotechnology,” Biotechnology International F.Fox and T.H.Connor, eds. (San Francisco: 1997, Universal Medical Press), pp. 35-39. A philosophically oriented discussion can be found in “Pragmatism, Discourse Ethics and Occasional Philosophy,” Pragmatist Ethics for a Technological Culture, J. Keulartz, M. Korthals, M. Schermer and T. Swierstra, eds. (Dordrecht, NL: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002), pp. 199-216. For those interested in further elaboration of my own views on the various questions in the debate over agricultural biotechnology, the following recent papers may be helpful: P. B. Thompson, “The Environmental Ethics Case for Crop Biotechnology: Putting Science Back into Environmental Practice,” in Moral and Political Reasoning in Environmental Practice. A. Light and A. de-Shalit, Eds. Cambridge, MA: 2003, The MIT Press, pp. 187-217; “Cultural Integrity, Globalization, and Technical Change: Further Thoughts on GMO’s in the Food Supply,” in Technology and Cultural Value on the Edge of the Third Millennium P.D. Herscock, M. Stepaniants and R. Ames, Eds. Honolulu: 2003, University of Hawaii Press, pp. 222-235; and “Value Judgments and Risk Comparisons: The Case of Genetically Engineered Crops,” Plant Physiology 132(2003): 10-16.
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