Biology and war: a pragmatic perspective

Anna Estany Profitós

Abstract


An approach to the philosophy of biology in the 21st century requires going beyond its epistemological side, betting on pragmatic aspects, in the sense of the social impact of the instrumentalization of biological developments. These advances have both beneficial and harmful consequences for humanity. Among the latter, it is its use for military conflicts, as a result of advances in biotechnology. The objective of this work is to address the role of biological knowledge in wars, analyzing some especially relevant cases such as bioterrorism, but also other types of conflicts in which biology, broadly understood with its different branches, plays an important role. First, I will introduce the most important concepts in the relationship between biology and war, taking into account historical precedents in this area. Secondly, since biology enters in military conflicts, I will address the case of bioterrorism as one of the most pressing problems in that it is one of the forms that war is currently taking, as well as one of its derivatives, “agroterrorism”, which consists in causing the destruction of crops or the death of livestock that feeds the population. In this regard, I will examine other ways of resolving conflicts in which biological factors play an important role in establishing dominance between two or more nations or populations facing each other, paying special attention to agriculture and livestock. Regarding the possible theoretical models to analyze these conflicts, I will focus on the relationship between pure, applied science and technology, the methodological models of design sciences and ethical and moral reflection.


Keywords


biological warfare; bioterrorism; agroterroris; design sciences; ethical dilemmas

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv2019iss14pp91-116

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