Science, Technology, and Human Responsibility

A Publication of The Nature Institute
Editor: Stephen L. Talbott (

NetFuture is an electronic newsletter with periodic postings. Having focused for many years on technology and its social implications, it has now turned more toward the problems of a science influenced by visions of technology. In particular, the newsletter is currently dealing with issues in genetics, molecular biology, evolution, and the nature of the organism. The aim is to overcome the limitations of the nineteenth-century materialism that still dominates biological thinking (as opposed to the rather more “liberated” thinking of the physicist). The aim, in other words, is to find a more living approach to the dynamism, plasticity, and intentionality of the organism. Organisms are creatures of meaning and purpose, of directed striving, and their activity is a kind of speaking. But while these central features are often implicit in biological descriptions, a recognition of them has yet to transform the most deeply-rooted, materialistic thought habits of the biologist.

Please Note:

Most of the content now being published in NetFuture consists of initial drafts of selected articles belonging to a larger project, “What Do Organisms Mean? Toward a Biology Worthy of Life”. The latest versions of these articles, together with many features to make the material more conveniently browsable and accessible, are available at the project website. Please visit the website for a stimulating experience that cannot be duplicated in the occasional, standalone NetFuture newsletters.

The NetFuture archives contain a vast range of commentary on many aspects of technology and science, including their social impacts. You will find convenient access to all these contents via the topical index.

The editor of NetFuture is Stephen L. Talbott ( His growing collection of papers, From Mechanism to a Science of Qualities, is largely derived from articles that have appeared in NetFuture. This collection always contains the latest versions of the papers. For other writings of his, you can visit his home page.

NetFuture is a non-profit publication and needs its readers' support. To make a contribution, click here. You can also check to see what other readers have said about NetFuture.

Search the NetFuture site

Guide to the site:

Subscribe or unsubscribe to email postings of NetFuture (free).

Associated resources:

Privacy Policy: The Nature Institute (publisher of NetFuture) will use your name and address only for communicating directly with you, and will not pass this information on to anyone else. We will, however, thank financial contributors by name in our hardcopy newsletter, In Context, unless you request otherwise.

Last revision: September 17, 2013