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Mechanization and the Irreducibility of the Biotic Aspect: A Dooyeweerdian View of Bioengineering

In: Philosophia Reformata
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Abstract

The nonreductionistic theory of the multiple aspects of reality offered by the Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd is employed to illuminate the status of bodies and biological entities in relation to attached and incorporated technological devices. I first present a review of the interpretations of the mechanization of biology and then argue from a Dooyeweerdian viewpoint that this mechanization also amounts to a reduction of the biotic aspect to previous aspects, such as the physical and the regulatory or cybernetic aspect. Next, the irreducible meaning of the biotic aspect is defined as the vital life cycle and generational continuity that delineate the form of a species. Finally, I show how this definition helps us identify a normativity and a respect for living things, and I discuss its implications for bioengineering practices.

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