This brief sketch of the fundamental challenges epigenetics poses to two of the most dominant ethical frameworks of modern liberalism is a good indication of the scope of the implications of epigenetics for modern liberalism in general, not only for the ethics, but also the politics and the jurisprudence of contemporary liberalism built on these same principles.
This new knowledge emerging from epigenetics not only introduces significant challenges to conventional understandings of gene-environment interactions, but also exacerbates many of the longstanding and unresolved fractures in modern liberal ethics.
Does epigenetics challenge contemporary political ideologies? This small study may serve as a starting point for broader studies of epigenetics as it comes to affect political ideologies and, in turn, public policies. The narrative mix reported here could yet prove vulnerable to ideological capture, or, more optimistically, could portend the emergence of a "third-way" narrative using epigenetics to question atomistic individualism and allowing for less divisiveness in public-health domains such as obesity.
The gene-centric focus of molecular genetics is usually portrayed as the product of the inevitable and impartial progress of science, but the material effects of the Second World War and its aftermath on the particular trajectory of the science of genetics are rarely considered.
The politicization of biology in the West before and during the Cold War was to play a significant role in the development of the science of genetics in the West over the subsequent fifty years, particularly in the prejudice against epigenetics—which also helps to explain the recent and seemingly sudden (re)emergence of epigenetics within the last decade or so.
The cover art for my forthcoming book Epigenetics and Public Policy: The Tangled Web of Science and Politics has been approved, and a tentative release date set (January 2018). Stay tuned here, as I will post excerpts and work in progress as I finish the writing of this book. "This book comprehensively considers the political implications of … Continue reading Epigenetics and Public Policy: The Tangled Web of Science and Politics
by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) (The following is a summary of a talk presented at the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy on January 11, 2016. Copies of the full-length (draft) paper and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation are available here) Per the guiding model of my project: I propose that the emerging science of epigenetics invokes an openness and an … Continue reading The Immanent Self: Epigenetics, Modern Liberalism and Spinoza