The embryo and its rights: Technology and teleology

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    Why do fundamental rights and market freedoms attract and repel each other? Why can they neither be together nor remain separate? This paper argues that at least part of the explanation is that they are each governed by different types of “logic.” They are at the fault-lines of different discourses. Market freedoms are promoted in a technological discourse, fundamental rights in a teleological discourse. The former are expressed in an observational view from above, while the latter embody the view of a first-person agent. Travelling back and forth between these two discourses, as legal authorities like the European legislator and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) often have to do, is an ambiguous enterprise. It may create opacity, but it may also bring clarity to the otherwise muddy waters of a “common” (now: “internal”) EU market under capitalist conditions. Much is dependent on their ability to orientate themselves on a map that recognizes the poles of these discourses, technology and teleology. This paper contributes to drawing that map through analysis of a case study in patent law involving the concept of an embryo. Construed as “an autonomous concept of European law” the notion of an embryo will appear to be paradigmatic of alternative ways in which the two discourses may relate to each other.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1939-1958
    JournalGerman Law Journal
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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