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Title: Neopragmatism and the dual-use issue : a topology of visions
Author: Walther, Gerald
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2013
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In the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US, States Parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention started to discuss the potential malign application of biological research and technology. This thesis examines how this issue of dual-use has been developed, discussed, and how solutions have been proposed. In order to do so, the thesis follows a neopragmatist approach. As a neopragmatist methodology is largely underdeveloped, the thesis explores some of the key aspects of neopragmatism, specifically its openness to various methods and theories, by directly applying it to the topic. As a result of this approach, the thesis starts with exploratory empirical research, which follows Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory. This research reviews how the problem of dual-use has been discussed in three communities: politics and security, ethics, and science. One of the results is that dual-use has primarily been discussed in the security community while the other two were only marginally involved. The proposed solution to the problem by the security community is to place the burden of responsibility on the scientific community. The second part of the thesis then uses theory, Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory and Martin Heidegger’s work on questioning technology, to critically challenge this solution developed in the security community. The thesis concludes by identifying approaches to help deal with the dual-use issue. It also examines how the adoption of a neopragmatist methodology has influenced and guided the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bioethics, Dual-Use, Pragmatism, Philosophy of Science, Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Bioweapons