Rabinow’s description of the unique collaborative goal of synthetic biology at Berkeley, to foster a coproduction among multiple disciplines and perspectives from the outset (as opposed to downstream reflection upon ethical, legal, and social implications), is somewhat misleading. While that particular assemblage is represented as coproductive, the inevitability of science as a coproduction is eclipsed. That shortcoming may well be a strategic compromise to ensure effective collaboration, but it could backfire. Idealized images of science, which might be termed synthetic or artificial, have had adverse consequences in legal and administrative assessments of reliable science.
Science and Technology Law
Date of this Version
Caudill, David S., "Synthetic Science: A Response to Rabinow" (2009). Working Paper Series. 141.