Joachim Schummer Homepage

Research Topics on Synthetic Biology

My interests comprise the history of ideas about artificially creating life as they developed in science, philosophy, religion, and literature as well as philosophical topics, including epistemological, conceptual and ethical issues.


(for paper downloads click here)

Books and Editions

Das Gotteshandwerk: Die künstliche Herstellung von Leben im Labor (The Craft of Gods: The Artificial Creation of Life in the Laboratory), Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2011.


“‘Are you playing God?’: Synthetic Biology and the Chemical Ambition to Create Artificial Life”, Hyle, 22 (2016), 149-172.

"The Creation of Life in Cultural Context: From Spontaneous Generation to Synthetic Biology", in: Mark Bedau & Emily Parke (eds.): The Ethics of Protocells: Moral and Social Implications of Creating Life in the Laboratory, Cambridge, MA: MIT-Press, 2009, pp. 125-142.

The Popularization of Emerging Technologies through Ethics: From Nanotechnology to Synthetic Biology”, Spontaneous Generation: Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science (Univ. of Toronto), 2, 2008, 56-62.


“The Artificial Creation of Life: History and Ethics of Synthetic Biology”, Universidad de Santander, Colombia, 30 January 2015.

“Die künstliche Herstellung von Leben: Kulturhistorische und ethische Dimensionen” (The Artificial Creation of Life: Historical and Ethical Dimensions), Summer School Synthetische Biologie: Versprechungen und Risiken moderner Biotechnologie, Universität Heidelberg / Burg Trifels, 1-4 September 2014

“Can we infer from the ‘normativity of life’ a normative argument for or against the artificial production of life?”, Workshop on ‘Normativität des Lebendigen’, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany 8-10 April 2013.

“Knowing through Making: From Synthetic Chemistry to Synthetic Biology”, Workshop on Data Intensive Biology, Konrad-Lorenz Institute & University of Vienna, Austria, 14-15 June 2012.

The Artificial Creation of Life: Science or Charlatanery?“, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany, 25 April 2012.

“Knowing through Making: From Synthetic Chemistry to Synthetic Biology”, Summer Symposium of the International Society for the Philosophy of Chemistry, Bogota, Colombia, 9-11 August 2011.

From Synthetic Chemistry to Synthetic Biology: The Revival of the Verum Factum Principle”, Symposium of the Joint Commission of IUHPS, 14th Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Nancy, France, 19-26 July 2011.

Last update: 30.07.2017