The case of embryo research provides insight into the challenges for historians and philosophers of science who want to engage social issues, and even more challenges in engaging society. Yet there are opportunities in doing so. History and philosophy of science research demonstrates that the public impression of embryos does not fit with our scientific understanding. In cases where there are competing understandings of the phenomena and public impacts, we have to negotiate social responses. Historians and philosophers of science can both inform and learn from engaging in the process, by helping to recognize underlying assumptions and by demonstrating changing ideas over time and what factors have caused the changes.
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