Is Genetically Modified Food Unnatural?
- 5.8k Downloads
This paper argues for the following four claims: (a) the terms “natural” and “unnatural” are ambiguous. (b) Genetically modified food is unnatural in some senses of the term “unnatural”. (c) Natural food should be favored over unnatural food in some senses of the terms “natural” and “unnatural”. (d) Genetically modified food is not necessarily unnatural in a sense that would offer a good reason for favoring food that is not genetically modified. The claims are defended by distinguishing four different senses of the terms “natural” and “unnatural”. Each sense is analyzed with respect to its moral relevance for food choice.
KeywordsNaturalness Genetically modified food Senses of terms Moral relevance
Author wants to thank Payam Moula, Per Sandin, the anonymous referee and the participants of the Mistra Biotech workshop for their useful comments. Susanne Uusitalo has revised my English.
- Borghini, A. (2014). Metaphysics of natural food. In P. B. Thomson & D. M. Kaplan (Eds.), Encyclopedia of food and agricultural ethics. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Comstock, G. (2012). Ethics and genetically modified food. In D. M. Kaplan (Ed.), The philosophy of food (pp. 122–139). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Cox, P. (2002). You do not need meat. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.Google Scholar
- Frazier, K. (2010). Natural low carb diet. http://www.livestrong.com/article/298363-natural-low-carb-diet/. Accessed May 15, 2014.
- Freston, K. (2009) Shattering the meat myth: Humans are natural vegetarians. Huffpost healthy living. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-freston/shattering-the-meat-myth_b_214390.html. Accessed June 5, 2014.
- Lee, K. (2003a). Philosophy and revolutions in genetics: Deep science and deep technology. Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan.Google Scholar
- Lee, K. (2003b). Patenting and transgenic organisms: A philosophical exploration. Techné, 6.Google Scholar
- Loren, K. (2012). Natural milk vs. processed milk. http://www.karlloren.com/milk.htm. Accessed May 16, 2013.
- Maser, J. (2014). My healthy choice: How one vegetarian deals with sceptics. MVP health care. http://www.discovermvp.com/individual-family/individual-family-new-york/my-healthy-choice-how-one-vegetarian-deals-with-skeptics/. Accessed June 5, 2014.
- McKibben, B. (1989). The end of nature. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Mill, J. S. (1969). Nature: Essays on ethics, religion and society. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics. (1999). Genetically modified crops: Ethical and social issues. Plymouth: Latimer Trend & Company.Google Scholar
- O’Neill, J., Holland, A., & Light, A. (2008). Environmental values. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Prakash, C. S., & Conko, G. (2003). Genetically modified foods are nothing new. AgBioView archives. http://www.agbioworld.org/biotech-info/articles/agbio-articles/GM-food-nothing-new.html. Accessed August 13, 2013.
- Reiss, M. J., & Staughan, R. (1996). Improving nature? The science and ethics of genetic engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Richards, J. R. (1984). The skeptical feminist. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
- Sagoff, M. (2001). Genetic engineering and the concept of the natural. Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly, 21(1), 2–10.Google Scholar
- Saher, M. (2006). Everyday beliefs about food and health. Helsinki: Yliopistopaino.Google Scholar
- Verhoog, H., Matze, M., Lammerts Van Bueren, E. T., & Baars, T. (2003). The role of concept of the natural/naturalness in organinc farming. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 16(1), 29–49.Google Scholar
- Verhoog, H., Lammerts Van Bueren, E. T., Matze, M., & Baars, T. (2007). The value of ‘naturalness’ in organic agriculture. NJAS-Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 54(4), 333–345.Google Scholar
- Welin, S., Gold, J., & Berlin, J. (2012). In vitro meat. In D. M. Kaplan (Ed.), The philosophy of food. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar