Friday, July 24, 2015

Biologically Modified Justice (FINISHED!)

My book Biologically Modified Justice is now finished, and sent off to the publishers at Cambridge University Press. PHEW!

It took me over a decade and a half to write the darn thing. By far it will be the most significant book I write in my career, which is not to say it will necessarily be significant. But I obviously hope it is! By "significant" I mean I hope it will help foster interdisciplinary dialogue between those working in the humanities/social sciences and those working in the life sciences. I also hope it will help foster more rational and cogent deliberation and debate of how to regulate novel technologies like gene therapy and an aging intervention.

It is hard to comprehend the emotions of finally completing a project that I have been working on for 15.5 years! I suppose it might be similar to the feeling a parent must have when, after years of feeding, caring for and driving their child around daily they finally(!) send the child off to college only to realize how much they are going to miss them being so dependent on them. But of course college kids still depend on their parents! And likewise I know the work on this book will still come in with proofs, hopefully replies from critics, etc. So it's not "over" in many senses, but in the most important sense (as a live "work in progress" in my mind) it is now OVER!

I decided to start writing a book on the genetic revolution back in the spring of 2000 as the race to sequence the human genome was heating up and there were lots of emotive discussions in the media about the pros and cons of things like gene therapy and gene patents. At the time I thought I would complete the book by 2005 at the latest and that it would be an arm-chair philosophical reflection on the issues. But in the end I developed an empirically-informed, non-ideal moral analysis that (I hope!) seriously engages in the diverse scientific and societal concerns and issues that arise with new biotechnologies.

What am I up to next?- PLAY! (the study of play to be more precise!)

This is what I wrote on my FB page this morning:

Is the following reasoning sound?

After spending the last decade learning about aging- the biology of aging, interventions to retard aging and the ethical implications of life extension- I am very aware of the fact that I am more aged now than I was when I started seriously thinking about aging 10 years ago.

I am now devoting the next decade of my research to learning about play- the biology of play, the different types of social, imaginative and physical play and the societal implications of pursuing what I call the "Playful Dividend".

So does it stand to reason that I can expect to become much more playful over the next decade? :)