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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 32, Issue Supplement, 2007

Ethics and the Life Sciences

Matthew Lister
Pages 127-139

Well-ordered Science
The Case of GM Crops

The debate over the use of genetically-modified (GM) crops is one where the heat to light ratio is often quite low. Both proponents and opponents of GM crops often resort more to rhetoric than argument. This paper attempts to use Philip Kitcher’s idea of a “well-ordered science” to bring coherence to the debate. While I cannot, of course, here decide when and where, if at all, GM crops should be used I do show how Kitcher’s approach provides a useful framework in which to evaluate the desirability of using GM crops. At the least Kitcher’s approach allows us to see that the current state of research in to, and use of, GM crops is very far from the ideal of a well-ordered science and gives us a goal to work towards if we wish to achieve a more well-ordered agricultural policy.

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