The Immobility of Malice

NSF workshop on the future of ethics, science studies, and synthetic biology.

Our initial critical stance in human practices was articulated as the problem of flourishing and the life of science, understood as an outside to prosperity and amelioration. Seven years on, the first speaker at the workshop voiced frustration at not being allowed to ask the question if synthetic biology is good. One member of the team of NSF directors expressed dismay: not that the person had been blocked, but that the person had wanted to ask this question as antecedent to "public engagement."

How to name the vice of the inordinate love of the technocratic? More difficult, in the spirit of Canguilhem's "The Idea of Nature?" how does one remain recalcitrant about the need to moderate the technocratic by way of a different care for science?