Back to the book SOD Bioethics is a serious business, in every sense of the word.A sub-domain of philosophy which deals with issues concerning life and health, it has to arbitrate not only over practical matters regarding patient care and medical experiments, but also over the very ontology of ‘life’: its manufacturing, patenting and redefinition in and by the biotech industry.
Consequently, bioethics increasingly abandons its more daring ambitions and responsibilities -- such as exploring the metaphysics of life or the politics of everyday survival -- to serve instead as just a ‘technical discourse about values clarification and choice’ (Haraway, 2007: 109).
Its methods of working are thus principally procedural, akin to ‘facts and hypothesis testing’ in science (Haraway, 2007: 109).
Feminist thinker Donna Haraway points out that medical ethics ‘is now a literal industry, funded directly by the new developments in technoscience.
Ethics experts have become an indispensable part of the apparatus of technoscience-production’ (2007: 109).
The text below is thus a product of the cross-fertilisation of all the sources that feature in the Bioethics™ book: between one and four sentences have been taken from each article and spliced to form a unified whole.
The structure of individual sentences has been retained most of the time, and indication has been given whenever sentences have been split. Phenotypically resembling a standard academic essay, yet referenced in a less conventional way by a series of direct links (although a full page of Attributions is also available here), the text below is an experiment in textual and conceptual hybridisation.Its main function is to foreground the questions of crossing over, intellectual property, political economy and the ethics and politics of academic research that are the topic of this particular living book, and of the Living Books project as a whole -- but it may also of course develop a life of its own...To put it crudely, bioethics’ role is often to get biotech corporations off the hook -- although, of course, it has the potential to be much more than that.Indeed, in its engagement with life in both a metaphysical and material sense, bioethics is conceivably one of the most exciting areas of philosophical interrogation and artistic experimentation today.Designed as a supplement to my 2009 book, Bioethics in the Age of New Media -- which explores and experiments with some alternatives within and for bioethics -- this living book, Bioethics™: Life, Politics, Economics, is to act as a warning against the foreclosure of the aforementioned potential by casting light on the increasing marketisation of both life and bioethics under late capitalism.Performed as a form of ‘mutation’, the introduction presented here outlines an academic-artistic method for reading and writing as genetic recombination, which can perhaps be seen as a biotech-era take on Roland Barthes’ ‘From Work to Text’.