Biotechnology and Monstrosity: Why We Should Pay Attention to the 'Yuk Factor'
Midgley (Mary)
Source: The Hastings Center Report, Vol. 30, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 2000), pp. 7-15
Paper - Abstract

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Author's Abstract

  1. We find our way in the world partly by means of the discriminatory power of our emotions.
  2. The gut sense that something is repugnant or unsavoury – the sort of feeling that many now have about various forms of biotechnology – sometimes turns out to be rooted in articulable and legitimate objections, which with time can be spelled out, weighed, and either endorsed or dismissed.
  3. But we ought not dismiss the emotional response at the outset as "mere feeling”.

  1. I agree with the general sentiments in the abstract above – that gut instincts should neither be ignored nor trusted until the area of repugnance is investigated further. However, Midgely takes this a bit further in the actual paper – suggesting that our gut instincts are trustworthy in the case of biotechnology, so I want to investigate her reasons in detail.
  2. … to be continued!


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