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Altering Nature. Volume II: Religion, Biotechnology, and Public Policy

Place of Publication: 
New York

B. Andrew Lustig, Baruch A. Brody, and Gerald P. McKenny In this second volume of the “Altering Nature” project, we situate specific religious and policy discussions of four broad areas of biotechnology within the context of our interdisciplinary research on concepts of nature and the natural in the first volume (Altering Nature, Concepts of Nature and the Natural in Biotechnology Debates). In the first volume, we invited five groups of scholars to explore the diverse conceptions of nature and the natural that shape moral judgments about human alterations of nature, as especially exemplified by recent developments in biotechnology. A careful reading of such developments reveals that assessments of them—whether positive or negative—are often informed by different conceptual interpretations of nature and the natural, with differing implications for judgments about the appropriateness of particular alterations of nature. These varying interpretations of nature and the natural often result from the distinctive perspectives that characterize various scholarly disciplines. Therefore, in an effort to explore the variety of meanings that attend discussions of the concepts of nature and the natural, the contributors to the first volume of Altering Nature addressed those concepts from five different disciplinary vantages. A first group of scholars analyzed a range of religious and spiritual perspectives on concepts of nature and the natural. Their research highlighted the thematic, historical, and methodological touchstones in those traditions that shape their perspectives on nature. (Publisher)