Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

A Philosophical Introduction

$32.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Introductions to Philosophy and Biology

  • Date Published: August 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521133753

$ 32.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Humans have been modifying plants and animals for millennia. The dawn of molecular genetics, however, has kindled intense public scrutiny and controversy. Crops, and the food products which include them, have dominated molecular modification in agriculture. Organisations have made unsubstantiated claims and scare mongering is common. In this textbook Paul Thompson presents a clear account of the significant issues – identifying harms and benefits, analysing and managing risk – which lie beneath the cacophony of public controversy. His comprehensive analysis looks especially at genetically modified organisms, and includes an explanation of the scientific background, an analysis of ideological objections, a discussion of legal and ethical concerns, a suggested alternative – organic agriculture – and an examination of the controversy's impact on sub-Saharan African countries. His book will be of interest to students and other readers in philosophy, biology, biotechnology and public policy.

    • Provides scientific and philosophical background material that is accessible to students and non-specialists
    • Examines both the advocacy for, as well as the condemnation of, genetic modification in agriculture, finding the middle path between extremes
    • Explains the analytical and logical methods used to examine issues
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "… the book is impartial and provides a balance of citations. It will be especially valuable for law and public libraries … Highly recommended …"
    B. R. Shmaefsky, Choice

    "Thompson brings his considerable knowledge of biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and his prowess at keen philosophical analysis, to bear on a biological process and system essential to human life - agriculture."

    "… examines in detail the scientific background of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and makes an analysis of ideological objections, legal, and ethical concerns. The scientific explanation and clear style make this accessible to readers from any disciplinary background … This book will be of interest to researchers investigating these issues, as well as students and other readers in philosophy, biology, biotechnology, and public policy."
    The Quarterly Review of Biology

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521133753
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 5 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Scientific background
    2. Application of genetics in agriculture
    3. Philosophical and conceptual background
    4. The controversy: ideological and theological objections
    5. The controversy: purported benefits
    6. The controversy: purported harms
    7. The organic alternative
    8. Impact on low and middle income countries: poverty, farming and colonial legacies
    Concluding remarks.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Food Ethics
  • Author

    R. Paul Thompson, University of Toronto
    R. Paul Thompson is Professor at the Institute of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, at the University of Toronto.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.