The Technological Fix Criticisms and the Agricultural Biotechnology Debate
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- Scott, D. J Agric Environ Ethics (2011) 24: 207. doi:10.1007/s10806-010-9253-7
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A common tactic in public debates over science and technology is to dismissively label innovations as mere technological fixes. This tactic can be readily observed in the long debate over agricultural biotechnology. While these criticisms are often superficial rhetorical tactics, they point to deeper philosophical disagreements about the role of technology in society. Examining the technological fix criticism can clarify these underlying philosophical disagreements and the debate over biotechnology. The first part of this essay discusses the origins of the notion of a technological fix and distinguishes two types of technological fix criticisms, philosophical and practical. These distinctions are then applied to clarify and evaluate arguments for and against agricultural biotechnology. This analysis should clarify the debates over agricultural biotechnology and bring to light fundamental philosophical differences over the role of technology in agriculture.