Genomics Forum Bright Ideas Fellow
Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/faculty/profiles/Mairi-Levitt
This is the final week of my Bright Ideas Fellowship but the point about coming here for 2 months was, of course, to make contacts and develop research ideas. So once I get the bright collaborative ideas into final shape, with help from colleagues in the law school, a research proposal (or two!) will emerge. I will then have plenty of reasons to come back - assuming I get the money.
Just as I am beginning to feel optimistic I see some news from one of the major funders about 'demand management'. This translates as the steps being taken to reduce the number of applications so they don't have to wade through so many and the success rate looks more respectable. But, even if the funding doesn't materialise, it has been a productive time - I have learned a lot more about criminal law, analysed data and given a seminar. One article is nearly completed, 2 more planned out and an idea sketched out for an edited book (after a very good meal at the Grain Store!).
So thanks to all at the Forum including Margaret and the lunch group, the creative duo I shared a room with (Peter, resident playwright and Pippa, writer in residence) and both Steves for letting me come. So to end with some snippets from my research on people's ideas about genes and responsibility .... freewill is about having and making choices. We all live within a complex network of environmental and genetic influences but some will find it harder to control their behaviour than others. Those who commit violent crimes must take responsibility for what they have done and (except perhaps in cases of insanity or extreme mental illness) must be treated as responsible by the courts for the legal system to work. But... to the assertion that 'genes are not destiny' respondents made different additions: genes are not destiny 'and never will be' ; 'but might be [much] more important in the future' ; 'must never be seen that way because of the consequences