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Heterogeneous assemblages of bioethics and science: the “pre-embryo” debate in America

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This paper explores the “pre-embryo” debate in America to analyze the relationship between scientific uncertainty and moral decision-making. This paper explores how an ethical debate among bioethicists around the term “pre-embryo” has been transformed into a scientific “fact” debate between developmental biology and embryology. This transformation is driven by the scientism of ethical reasoning that stresses scientific claims to increase the credibility of ethical claims. This paper concludes that the “pre-embryo” debate is not an ethical controversy over a unified science but rather credibility struggles between two heterogeneous assemblages of science and bioethics.
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Keywords: heterogeneous assemblages; pre-embryo; scientific uncertainty; scientism; stem cell research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Biotechnology Policy Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon, South Korea

Publication date: December 1, 2008

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