Rafael Capurro


This is a short contribution to World Technology Intelligence (2003), Issue VI, p.16, as member and nominator (Ethics, 2002, 2003) of the WTN (World Technology Network) on the topic: "Biotechnology Engineeringhumans. Where might manipulation of the human genome lead and what ethical issues are at stake? Should such bio-science now be regulated and, if so, by what means? WTN members reply to World Technology Intelligence." The two other contributors are: Amory B. Lovins (CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute, 2000 World Technology Award Winner, Environment), and Prof. Arthur D. Caplan, University of Pennsylvania, 2000 World Technology Award nominator, Ethics. 


The European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) an independent, pluralist and multidisciplinarybody which advises the European Commission on ethical aspects of science and new technologies in connection with the preparation and implementation of Community legislation or policies, has established several opinions on ethical issues related to the manipulation of the human genome. They have questioned the patenting of inventions involving human stem cells and are preparing a view on genetic testing in the workplace. One ethical issue concerns the question of how far such manipulation may lead to a policy of selection and/or exclusion.

The ethical issue is particularly controversial when genetic manipulation is being done with human embryos for research purposes. The consequences of human genome manipulation for future generations are, to a great extent, hard to foresee. More generally, we are confronted with the issue of how far our technological civilization will be able to find a felicitious interaction with its own nature, avoiding the hubris of total control without giving up the opportunities for a better life. 

More on these issues can be found in my paper Philosophical Presuppositions of Producing and Patenting Organic Life

Last update: August 25, 2017

Copyright © 2003 by Rafael Capurro, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. and international copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the author is notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the consent of the author. 

Back to Digital Library
Homepage Research Activities
Publications Teaching Interviews