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Unpublished Paper
The Ethical Phenomenon of GM-Corn: Anger, Anxiety, and Arrogance in Crossing American Borders
  • jules simon, University of Texas at El Paso

In terms of phenomenology, I often wonder about the relevance of what I do as a philosopher for the life of those with whom I come into contact. This ‘coming into contact’ happens for me on several levels: as one human among many, as a husband and father and son and brother, as a teacher, as a neighbor, and as country or city dweller. I remember with fondness those times in the late sultry summer months when, as a youth, I would drive with my father to this or that local farm-stand on some remote back road in the hills of Hunterdon County, New Jersey—the Garden State—in order to seek out the freshest sweet corn that was being harvested by our farming friends. In the 1960s, there was not even the slightest inkling that any of those ears of corn might at all be the product of genetic engineering, although I was vaguely aware that some cross-fertilization may have occurred to produce such sweetness. How could the earth, entirely on its own and without the assistance of human artifice, generate such delicacies? I recently made a trip to Queretaro, Mexico and am happy to report that I tasted once again the experience of my youth, reminiscent of that sweet white corn laden with goodness and available for sale on the farm stands of New Jersey. I was able to relive that taste not because of the miracle of gm-engineered corn in itself, but because of the resistance of the Mexican people to the introduction of genetically modified food products into their daily buying habits. They have been especially resistant to buying corn. On the one hand, my paper takes the form of a phenomenological analysis of genetic modification of food products, while on the other hand, I consider the phenomenological significance of the transfer of biotechnology for its deeply rooted cross-border ethical, political, and cultural significance. As a way to focus my remarks, I limit my analysis to the phenomenon of GM corn.

  • ethics,
  • gm corn,
  • cultural differences,
  • bioethics,
  • genetics,
  • phenomenological ethics,
  • ethical theory,
  • transgenics,
  • multinationals
Publication Date
Fall 2009
Citation Information
jules simon. "The Ethical Phenomenon of GM-Corn: Anger, Anxiety, and Arrogance in Crossing American Borders" (2009)
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