Is It Possible to Overcome the GMO Controversy? Some Elements for a Philosophical Perspective

  • Marcel KuntzEmail author


The main belief systems that express themselves over GMOs are summarized. The existence of these different modes of thought (termed modernism, postmodernism, environmentalism and religious views) partially explains the reason why it has not been possible to overcome the public controversy despite the accumulation of scientific data. In addition, the divergent views on GMOs often reflect more general value judgments on the free market economy and on the integration of agriculture and food production in a globalized economy. In this context, it has proven difficult for most people to distinguish genuine scientific controversies from political ones.


Modernism Postmodernism Environmentalism Political dispute Scientific controversy 


  1. Barnes B, Bloor D, Henry J (1996) Scientific knowledge: a sociological analysis. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  2. Bellon MR, Berthaud J (2004) Transgenic maize and the evolution of landrace diversity in Mexico. The importance of farmers’ behavior. Plant Physiol 134:883–888PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Glenna LL, Jussaume RA Jr (2010) Social equity and the genetically engineered crops controversy. Choices 2nd Quarter 25(2)Google Scholar
  4. GMO Compass (2010) Vatican scientists see “moral imperative” in GMO.
  5. Jonas H (1984) The imperative of responsibility: In search of ethics for the technological age (trans: Das Prinzip Verantwortung). University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  6. Kuntz M (2012a) The postmodern assault on science. If all truths are equal, who cares what science has to say? EMBO Rep 13:885–889PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Kuntz M (2012b) Destruction of public and governmental experiments of GMO in Europe. GM Crops Food 3:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Minorsky PV (2001) The monarch butterfly controversy. Plant Physiol 127: 709–710.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRSGrenobleFrance

Personalised recommendations