From Synthetic to Sympoietic Biology: The Pharmacological Character of Biotechnology Cover Image
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От синтетична към симпойетична биология: Фармакологичният характер на биотехнологиите
From Synthetic to Sympoietic Biology: The Pharmacological Character of Biotechnology

Author(s): Nevena Ivanova
Subject(s): Philosophy, Epistemology, Philosophy of Science
Published by: Институтът по философия и социология при БАН
Keywords: pharmakon; proletarianization; amateur; Stiegler; synthetic biology; open biotech; algorithmization of life

Summary/Abstract: The article outlines a conceptual framework that would allow exploring the current revolution in biotechnologies in terms of the double role they play as a pharmakon (the concept as developed by Stiegler and Derrida): on the one hand, the development of biotechnologies intensifies the tendency of technosciences to establish full control over matter and life; on the other hand, however, technologies open new fields for the radical imagination and future protentions, as well as for the transformation of power-knowledge structures. In more specific terms, the object of this study is the movement to biotech, which includes the fields of synthetic biology, garage biology, bioart and biohacking. Some of these (synthetic biology and biohacking in its narrow transhumanist sense) could be regarded as peaks of the anthropocentric desire for full control over matter, the human body and other living beings, while others (garage biology and bioart), on the contrary, deconstruct control via dynamic involvement of the artist-researcher in the co-generating power of sympoietic commonalities between humans, nonhuman living systems and nonliving beings, the boundaries between them, as well as their identities, remaining fluid. In this text, I attempt to analyze how these apparently contradictory tendencies actually imply, and draw close to, one another, to examine the movement which generates them (algorithmization of living matter, systems and processes) and the philosophical questions posed by this movement. The article gives a schematic picture of the conceptual framework of research; while some of the presuppositions are presented in detail, the solutions require further practical and theoretical study.

  • Issue Year: XXVIII/2019
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 5-22
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English, Bulgarian