Human experiments: Waves and rifts in synthetic biology

Human experiments: Waves and rifts in synthetic biology Metascience (2013) 22:371–374 DOI 10.1007/s11016-013-9795-1 BOOK REVIEW Human experiments: Waves and rifts in synthetic biology Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett: Designing human practices: An experiment with synthetic biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012, 203pp, $25.00 PB Melinda Bonnie Fagan Published online: 15 May 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013 Designing Human Practices is ‘‘an account of a productive experiment in the human sciences,’’ which took place from 2006 to 2010 at the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC) (1). In ten chapters, Rabinow and Bennett describe the vicissitudes of their work as ‘‘embedded humanists’’ (Rheinberger’s phrase) attempting to develop a new form of interdisciplinary collaboration with SynBERC’s biologists, engineers, and social scientists, in order to articulate new ontological and ethical possibilities raised by synthetic biology. They did not succeed. But, as all experimenters know, failure can be instructive. Designing Human Practices aims to describe the course of the interdisciplinary experiment, explain its outcome, and extract lessons that could aid future attempts. It succeeds in the first two, but arguably not the third. These mixed results notwithstanding, the book is a valuable contribution to cultural studies of science, offering a challenging counterpoint to widely accepted ideas about experiment, science Metascience Springer Journals

Human experiments: Waves and rifts in synthetic biology

Metascience , Volume 22 (2) – May 15, 2013

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Springer Netherlands
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Philosophy; Philosophy of Science; History; Interdisciplinary Studies; Philosophy of Biology; Philosophy of Technology
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