Prof. Kerry Macintosh, the Inez Mabie Distinguished Professor of Law, joined the Santa Clara Law faculty in 1990 and writes in the areas of biotechnology, electronic commerce, commercial law, and contracts.
Why do you write?
Socrates once said that the only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance. This statement comes close to being my creed. I write to increase knowledge and share it with the world. With luck, I may persuade at least some legislators not to enact laws that do harm.
Is there a scholar who most inspires you?
I admire Steven Pinker, a cognitive psychologist who writes both academic and popular works.
What do you think has been your most impactful work?
Illegal Beings: Human Clones and the Law (Cambridge University Press 2005) has been my most impactful book so far.
What impact did it have?
Most people do not understand human cloning or other controversial biotechnologies. As a result, legal and policy prescriptions are often based on scientific fallacies. Illegal Beings exposed some of these fallacies. It explained that laws based on such fallacies discriminate against human clones based on their genetic characteristics. By writing the book, I shifted the debate from the pros and cons of human cloning to the pros and cons of laws against that technology.
Illegal Beings got a lot of attention and inspired both applause and outrage. It also moved my scholarship in a new direction. My next book discussed the psychological roots of cloning fallacies: Human Cloning: Four Fallacies and Their Legal Consequences (Cambridge University 2013). And more recently, I have written about genetic engineering, which is a new frontier in law: Enhanced Beings: Human Germline Modification and the Law (Cambridge University Press 2018).
If different, what work are you most proud of and why?
I am very proud of my work on human cloning and genetic engineering. However, before I began to write about those technologies, I published works explaining why privately-issued electronic currencies would benefit commerce and society. I am proud that this 1998 law review article anticipated the rise of Bitcoin and other electronic currencies: How to Encourage Global Electronic Commerce: The Case for Private Currencies on the Internet, 11 Harv. J.L. & Tech. 733-796 (1998).
What’s your next project?
I have various projects in mind. Writing yet another book is the most ambitious one. The book will discuss storytelling—its purposes and methods—and explain how science fiction stories encourage lawmakers to prohibit or restrict controversial biotechnologies.