According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau ‘the first person who, having fenced in a piece of land, bethought himself to say “this is mine” and found others simple-minded enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society.’ While it is hard to share Rousseau’s nostalgia for idealised anarchy, the patterning of social relations that is entailed when people start staking claims to property can have morally ambiguous consequences. Such claims are now, it appears, being staked on the emerging territories of electronic data.
Monthly archives: October 2018
The Nuffield Council of Bioethics runs a number of events and activities as part of a horizon-scanning programme to help identify topics that the Council might investigate. One useful tool is the convening of a diverse group of people from academia, business, policy, and civil society groups to explore a broad societal challenge. The most recent issue we chose for such an exploration is that of food sustainability, and specifically of the ethical and social questions raised by research and innovation that seeks to meet sustainable food challenges.
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