Nanotech Database

Article Title:
If and Then: A Critique of Speculative NanoEthics

Nordmann, Alfred

Journal Information:
Vol. 1, Num. 1


Nordmann takes to task here those who would speculate a fantastic future that nanotechnology would create and then support or critique their imagined scenario. The problem he sees is that people have been making claims about the future of nanotechnology that could be a possibility, but then treating it as a certainty in their polemics for or against their vision, which does a disservice both to the field of ethics in general and to nanotechnology and its future in particular. Ethics and ethicists are in many ways unprepared to handle the unique challenge of nanotechnology, as this is not a science that presents problems to be analyzed and better understood but one that has emerging problems that need to be addressed before they ever happen, a problem in itself as prognostication is no ones strong suit. While Nordmann does not want to stifle public debate and throw out entirely the if-and-then thesis he puts forward, he does want to see more responsibility taken when looking into a future where nanotechnology is mature and judging what one sees.