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.
Epigenetics and Public Policy: The Tangled Web of Science and Politics (April 2018). Read excerpts here. "This book comprehensively considers the political implications of the emerging science of epigenetics in specific policy domains, addressing the intersections of epigenetics with cancer, obesity, the environment, and the law. Author Shea Robison carefully navigates the messy history of genetics … 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
As a postdoctoral research fellow at the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy, with the Department of Public Policy at the City University of Hong Kong, I worked on a project called Eastern and Western Conceptions of Oneness, Virtue, and Human Happiness, From the project home page: A number of East Asian thinkers, as well … Continue reading Epigenetics and the Concept of Oneness
My name is Shea Robison. (Follow me on Twitter at @EpigeneticsGuy and see my academic profile at Academia.edu) As is well known, Darwin’s theory of evolution presented fundamental challenges to many of the prevailing core beliefs and values of the mid-1800s. These fundamental ontological challenges account for the significant scientific and ecclesiastical opposition which greeted the publication of On … Continue reading The Reception of Epigenetics: More like Mendel or Darwin?
by Shea Robison (@EpigeneticsGuy) As discussed repeatedly on this blog, epigenetics is a rapidly emerging field of research akin to genetics but with some substantial differences. In addition to the differences in the sciences of genetics and epigenetics—which differences are more a function of the ontological assumptions of each than the actual science—there are significant differences in … Continue reading The Trans-ideological Potential of Epigenetics