The freedom of scientific research

Bridging the gap between science and society

Edited by Simona Giordano, John Harris and Lucio Piccirillo

The freedom of scientific research

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-2767-9
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: September 2018
  • BIC Category: Ethical issues & debates, MEDICAL / Ethics, Sociology, SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Biology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Research, Bio-Ethics, Impact Of Science & Technology On Society, Impact of science & technology on society
  • Series: Contemporary Issues in Bioethics


Never before have the scope and limits of scientific freedom been more important or more under attack. New science, from artificial intelligence to gene editing, creates unique opportunities for making the world a better place. It also presents unprecedented dangers. This book is about the opportunities and challenges - moral, regulatory and existential - that face both science and society. How are scientific developments impacting on human life and on the structure of societies? How is science regulated and how should it be regulated? Are there ethical boundaries to scientific developments in sensitive areas? Such are the questions that the book seeks to answer. Both the survival of humankind and the continued existence of our planet are at stake.


'This book is a valuable contribution and resource in two senses. First, it explores the question of scientific freedom in our contemporary world of ideological debates about abortion, the use of embryos in research, vaccinations, and radical new surgical techniques. Second, it discusses new areas of technology and research that also raise definitional, ethical, legal, and policy issues. There are chapters on aging and longevity, reproductive technologies and the family, new frontiers in surgery (such as uterus and penis transplants), mitochondrial transfer, research on pathogens and biosecurity, robotic intelligence, and new frontiers in physics. The contributors' focus on freedom includes freedom of scientific research and the freedom of citizens and society to make informed decisions about treatments and about limiting or preventing scientific exploration. Does wider access to scientific education enhance people's ability to evaluate facts and to think critically? But what if people still choose to remain in ignorance? Is limiting scientific research also limiting the right to life and the physical integrity of those who would benefit from that research? Might scientific freedom be hindered by ideologies that do not stand up to moral or rational scrutiny?'
J. A. Kegley, California State University, Bakersfield, Choice Reviews, September 2019, Vol. 57, No.1


Preface by John Harris
Part I: Freedom of science: promises and hazards
Introduction - Simona Giordano
1 The influence of infection on society - Peter J. Lachmann
2 Scientific progress and longevity: curse or blessing? - Simona Giordano
3 Reproductive technologies and the family in the twenty-first century - Daniela Cutas and Anna Smajdor
4 New frontiers in surgery: the case of uterus and penis transplantation - Gennaro Selvaggi and Sean Aas
5 Freedom, law, politics, genes: the case of mitochondrial transfer - Iain Brassington
6 Scientific freedom and responsibility in a biosecurity context - Catherine Rhodes
7 Robotic intelligence: philosophical and ethical challenges - David Lawrence
8 Big science and small science: reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics - Lucio Piccirillo
Part II: Freedom of science and the need for regulation
Introduction - Simona Giordano
9 Advocating a radical change in science policies and new models to secure freedom and efficiency in funding and communication - Andrea Ballabeni and Davide Danovi
10 Freedom of research and the right to science, from theory to advocacy - Andrea Boggio and Cesare P. R. Romano
11 The donation of embryos for research: maintaining trust - Heidi Mertes
12 From Galileo to embryos and narcotic drugs: the quest for the right to science - Marco Cappato
13 Science, self-control and human freedom: a naturalistic approach - Gilberto Corbellini and Elisabetta Sirgiovanni
14 Evidence-based policy and the precautionary principle: friends or foes?- Roberto Baldoli and Claudio M. Radaelli
15 Let freedom ring for science: an American perspective - Mary Woolley
Conclusion - Simona Giordano


Simona Giordano is Reader in Bioethics in the School of Law at the University of Manchester

The freedom of scientific research

Edited by Simona Giordano, John Harris, Lucio Piccirillo

Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

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