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Book review: Rights, Regulation, and the Technological Revolution

Abstract : This monography provides an excellent synthesis of Roger Brownsword’s pio-neering scholarship at the interface of bio-technologies and regulation over the past decade (see, among many others, ‘What the World needs now: TechnoRegu-lation, Human Rights, and Human Dignity’, in R. Brownsword [ed], Human Rights [Oxford, Hart, 2004] 203; ‘Bioethics Today, Bioethics Tomorrow: Stem Cell Re-search and the Dignitarian Alliance’ 17 University of Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 15, 2003; ‘Red Lights and Rogues: Regulating Human Genetics’, in H. Somsen [ed], The Regulatory Challenge of BioTechnology [Chelten-ham: Edward Elgar, 2007] 39). Although it is hardly in need of introduction in the English-speaking world, the editors of this Review have thought it important that attention should be drawn to this work, published in 2008, in continental European private law circles, where the prevalence of legal formalism means lesser familiarity with – and greater resistance to – the very concept of regulation and the various strategies by means of which human behavior can be channeled, including through the appropriate design of tools which may or may not be recognizable as ‘law’. Moreover, for similar reasons, issues of political philosophy rarely find their way through the mesh of legal technique, even in fields which engage issues of democracy, human dignity or the status of scientific knowledge to the extent that genetical engineering obviously does, particularly in a global market of ever-available technology. In this remarkable book, Roger Brownsword uses the lense of regulation to address the dilemma facing our complex societies as articulated by Habermas (The Future of Human Nature [Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003] 92): should normative foundations be dropped, in favour of bioge-netic steering mechanisms? [First paragraph]
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Horatia Muir Watt. Book review: Rights, Regulation, and the Technological Revolution. European Review of Contract Law, 2012, 8 (4), pp.495 - 498. ⟨10.1515/ercl-2012-1009⟩. ⟨hal-03461098⟩



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