- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Associate Professor
- Residential Fellow (2013-2014)
- "Intellectual Property Rights and the Social Control of Information: The Case of Genetically Modified Seeds"
Justin Biddle is an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He specializes in philosophy of science, bioethics, and philosophy of food.
Professor Biddle’s research focuses on the role of values in science and on the epistemic and ethical implications of the social organization of science and technology. His current research focuses on the effects of intellectual property laws and policies on the production and distribution of scientific and technological knowledge. He is the author of numerous publications in journals, including Philosophy of Science, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, Social Epistemology, New Waves in Philosophy of Science, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Routledge Companion to Bioethics.
He is a past recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and was a Fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research at Bielefeld University and a Fellow in Philosophy of Science in the Department of Philosophy at Bielefeld University, Germany.
“Antiscience Zealotry”? Values, Epistemic Risk, and the GMO Debate
Philosophy of Science, 2018
This article argues that the controversy over genetically modified crops is best understood not in terms of the supposed bias, dishonesty, irrationality, or ignorance on the part of proponents or critics, but rather in terms of differences in values. To do this, the article draws on and extends recent work of the role of values and interests in science, focusing particularly on inductive risk and epistemic risk, and it shows how the GMO debate can help to further our understanding of the various epistemic risks that are present in science and how these risks might be managed.
Can Patents Prohibit Research? On the Social Epistemology of Patenting and Licensing in Science
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2014
A topic of growing importance within philosophy of science is the epistemic implications of the organization of research. This paper identifies a promising approach to social epistemology—nonideal systems design—and uses it to examine one important aspect of the organization of research, namely the system of patenting and licensing and its role in structuring the production and dissemination of knowledge. The primary justification of patenting in science and technology is consequentialist in nature. Patenting should incentivize research and thereby promote the development of knowledge, which in turn facilitates social progress. Some have disputed this argument, maintaining that patenting actually inhibits knowledge production. In this paper, I make a stronger argument; in some areas of research in the US—in particular, research on GM seeds—patents and patent licenses can be, and are in fact being, used to prohibit some research. I discuss three potential solutions to this problem: voluntary agreements, eliminating patents, and a research exemption. I argue against eliminating patents, and I show that while voluntary agreements and a research exemption could be helpful, they do not sufficiently address the problems of access that are discussed here. More extensive changes in the organization of research are necessary.