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Grzybowski, Laurent


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La Vie - France | 31/10/2007

Olivier Abel on the crucial element of mystery in genetics

Interviewed by Laurent Grzybowski, the philosopher Olivier Abel considers what would happen if we had perfect knowledge of our genetic identity. He exclaims that "We would go crazy ! Our lives would be unbearable. Thank goodness we are not aware of the date of our deaths. We are able to live humanely and make plans thanks to the unpredictability of the future. Our ignorance places us in a relation with time that is both dynamic and constructive. This is a little like a bet. Facing those who would like to know absolutely everything, the value of ignorance and uncertainty needs to be firmly stated. Genetics do not tell us everything about an individual. No matter what means are applied, we will never have a complete and definitive idea of who we are. There will always be an element of mystery. Seeking to evacuate this incertitude is running the risk of sliding towards eugenics."

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