Biotechnology and Frankensteinism

Professor David E. Cooper, from the University of Durham, will be the guest speaker at the next meeting of the Philosophy Society on
Thursday 13th April at the Francis Ebejer Lecture Theatre on campus at 7.00pm.

This event is being organized in conjunction with the Malta Chamber of Scientists.

Professor Cooper will address the concerns which many people express towards recent and potential applications of biology and genetics: towards, for example, genetically modified foods, transgenic animal procedures, and cloning.  Both those who voice such concerns and those who dismiss them frequently invoke the name of Frankenstein (ëFrankenstein foodsí, ëFrankenstein bugsí, and so on).  It might be interesting, therefore, to see what can be learned about the appropriate stance to be taken towards biotechnology from Mary Shelleyís famous novel and other well-known fictional treatments of ëmad scientistsí.  Professor Cooper argues that, from such works, we may learn that peopleís fears and concerns should not be dismissed, as they too often are, as ëirrational taboosí or mere expressions of ëyukí.

Professor Cooper is the author of a number of books including Metaphor (1986), Existentialism (1990) and World Philosophies (1996), Heidegger (1996), and is also editor of the Blackwell Companion to Aesthetics (1992).

Dr Richard Muscat, of the Department of Biochemistry, will open the discussion.