Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Nanotechnology, Contingency and Finitude

Groves, Christopher

Journal Information:
Vol. 3, Num. 1


This article argues that, rather than conceptualizing nanotechnology and its future in terms of possible risk, the concepts of contingency and of finitude must be central to any understanding of the ethical significance of nanotechnologies, as these concepts can be used to understand the basis of recent work in science and technology studies, and the sociology of knowledge more widely, which details the multi-dimensional social nature of technological uncertainty. Rather than accepting a politics of uncertainty based around an assumption of dire consequences in nantechnologys future, by focusing on technologies and not techniques, and on indeterminacy rather than risk a better model for mapping out the fields progress could be developed. As important as risk is in any equation, Groves feels that giving it primacy necessarily hamstrings the science and ensures no great advances will come about in so negative a climate.