Reinterpreting Progress, Genetically Engineered Biofortified Crops and Technological Pragmatism
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This chapter explores ideas for overcoming the three obstacles identified in the previous chapter. The chapter begins by focusing on fundamental issues in philosophy of technology, arguing that we need to reinterpret the philosophical idea of progress to move beyond the polarized debate over genetic engineering in agriculture. This requires abandoning conflicting metaphysical assumptions found in techno-optimism and techno-pessimism. I argue that environmental ethics needs a pragmatic philosophy of technology with a more limited interpretation of progress. The remainder of the chapter explores the implications of applying pragmatic technological philosophy to overcoming the three obstacles identified in the first chapter. More specifically, the chapter examines possibilities for using genetic engineering for social justice by reducing population-level micronutrient malnutrition with genetically engineered biofortified crops, with particular attention to the controversy over Golden Rice. The chapter ends by exploring the possibility of using a publicly funded, pay-for-performance incentive system to correct defects in the current incentive system, which is leading to market failures and injustices.
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