Genomics, World Views and Liberal Society

The research will concern the public debate around genomics. Genomics is a newly minted designation for present genetics. It is different from classic ‘mendelian’ genetics by its focus on multifactoriality, both in a multigenetic and an extragenetic sense. It uses large quantities of data, and therefore needs advanced informational technologies, large infrastructural investments and the cooperation of large populations. In modern culture, characterised by technology and liberalism, we have certain rules (both normative and descriptive) according to which debates are developed. Among these rules is the exclusion of personally coloured arguments: claims appealing to religion or Weltanschauung are generally problematic when put forward in a public or political discussion. Yet these convictions constitute to a large extent our point of departure in discussions, and remain rather rigid as such. This is a common problem, but it is of particular interest in a genomics context, which is presumed to heavily influence our personal life. The aim of the research is to articulate this problem within the specific genomics context, and by critically assessing whether common political theories offer alternatives for the exile of our ideas on the good life. The research aims to make a contribution to political philosophy.

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