Biocapitalism and the ‘temporal infrastructure’ of biotechnologies

Sergei Yu. Shevchenko
Insti­tute of Phi­los­o­phy, Russ­ian Acad­e­my of Sci­ences

Bio­cap­i­tal­ism and the ‘tem­po­ral infra­struc­ture’ of biotech­nolo­gies

Abstract. The con­cept of bio­cap­i­tal­ism was pro­posed to study spe­cif­ic forms of social dynam­ics aris­ing from the per­cep­tion of human biol­o­gy in the log­ic of invest­ment. The author shows that the phe­nom­e­non of bio­cap­i­tal­ism advances due to the dif­fer­ence in social, bio­log­i­cal, and oth­er “local times” con­sid­ered in the arti­cle from the view­point of the “time stud­ies” pro­gram pro­posed by Hel­ga Nowot­ny. Both social time and bio­log­i­cal time can lose uni­ty, break­ing up into the dura­tion of the dis­ease, the epi­demi­o­log­ic cycles, the dura­tion of preg­nan­cy or mat­u­ra­tion. On the oth­er hand, one “local time” can serve as a point of uni­fi­ca­tion, a medi­a­tor for the oth­er two. In addi­tion, our research per­spec­tive cor­re­sponds to the post-ELSI view on the role of phi­los­o­phy. In this regard, the sec­ond approach is the con­struc­tive phi­los­o­phy of tech­nol­o­gy, devel­oped by Philip Brey (Nether­lands) to achieve the objec­tives of respon­si­ble research and inno­va­tion. Through the use of these two approach­es, we make an attempt of trans­dis­ci­pli­nary exam­i­na­tion of mod­ern tech­no­log­i­cal cas­es and some aspects of the geneal­o­gy of tech­nol­o­gy. “Local time” areas are con­struct­ed and con­nect­ed along with devel­op­ment and dis­tri­b­u­tion of new tech­nolo­gies – biotech­nolo­gies, as a rule. The author sug­gests nam­ing this process the cre­ation of a “tem­po­ral infra­struc­ture” of biotech­nolo­gies. He pro­pos­es a pre­lim­i­nary mod­el of such infra­struc­ture, which ensures the devel­op­ment of bio­cap­i­tal­ism: biotech­nolo­gies cre­ate local times for bio­log­i­cal objects; the biotech­nol­o­gy mar­ket opens up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of glu­ing these local times to social ones. Through the study of these process­es, we can use the con­cept of bio­cap­i­tal­ism not only for exter­nal crit­i­cism of the social con­se­quences of new tech­nolo­gies, but also for a human­i­tar­i­an expert’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the val­ue-sen­si­tive design of their “tem­po­ral infra­struc­ture”.

Key­words: bio­cap­i­tal­ism, social expec­ta­tions, post-ELSI approach­es, con­struc­tive phi­los­o­phy of tech­nol­o­gy, time stud­ies, ‘tem­po­ral infra­struc­ture’, human­i­tar­i­an exper­tise

DOI: 10.5840/dspl20192340

The report­ed study was fund­ed by RFBR and BRFBR accord­ing to the research project № 19–511-04003


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