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This volume analyzes concepts of nature and ‘the natural’ in discussions of biotechnology with four broad concerns in mind. First, it surveys the recent history of biotechnology debates and identifies characteristic reactions and approaches to new biotechnological developments that invoke appeals to nature. Second, it analyzes concepts of nature and ‘the natural’ as they are invoked and interpreted in five characteristic modes of discourse; viz., spirituality and religion, philosophy, science and medicine, law and economics, and aesthetics. Third, it identifies a core cluster of ontological, epistemological, moral, and aesthetic questions that arise in conversations about nature as normative. Fourth, it highlights the findings of each of the five chapters, identifies areas of contrast and commonality, and identifies areas for further research.
Introduction. "Altering Nature: Concepts of "Nature" and "The Natural" in Biotechnology Debates", by B. Andrew Lustig and Baruch Brody;
1. "Spiritual and religious concepts of nature", by Aaron Mackler, Ebrahim Moosa, Allen Verhey, Anne Klein, and Kurt Peters;
2. "Philosophical Approaches to Nature", by John H. Zammito, Philip J. Ivanhoe, Helen Longino, Phillip R. Sloan;
3. "Scientific and Medical Concepts of Nature in the Modern Period in Europe and North America", by Laurence B. McCullough, John Caskey, Thomas R. Cole, and Andrew Wear;
4. "Ethical Challenges of Patenting "Nature": Legal and Economic Accounts of Altered Nature as Property", by Mary Anderlik Majumder, Margaret Byrne, Elias Bongmba, Leslie Rothenberg, and Nancy Dubler;
5. "Aesthetic and Representational Concepts of Nature", by Suzanne Anker, Susan Lindee, Edward Shanken, and Dorothy Nelkin.