Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 532619
Title Frankenstein lives on
Author(s) Belt, Henk Van Den
Source Science 359 (2018)6372. - ISSN 0036-8075 - p. 137 - 137.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aas9167
Department(s) Philosophy
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Abstract It was 200 years ago that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus was published. Over the decades, this gothic tale has captured the popular imagination through the numerous theater productions and films it inspired. The story is commonly taken to imply a dire warning about the dangers of scientific hubris. Just mention the name Frankenstein and laypersons think of scientists “playing God.” In the common view, the inevitable consequence of Frankenstein's alleged transgression—bestowing life on inanimate matter—was that he created a monster that would wreak havoc on his family and friends. Frankenstein's name is repeatedly invoked in debates about emerging technologies like biotech, nanotech, synthetic biology, and artificial intelligence. However, the view of Shelley's story as a cautionary tale about scientific hubris, although dominant, is only one possible interpretation. Her novel, actually, is a multilayered story full of ambivalences and much subtler than most Hollywood versions. It naturally lends itself to diverse interpretations.
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