Ethics and Technology in the Making:An Essay on the Challenge of Nanoethics
Johnson, Deborah G
Vol. 1, Num. 1
This essay looks to understand how nanoethics can play a role in nanotechnology development, but the problem the authors sees is in trying to determine the ethics of a science that had not yet fully developed. In one respect, this gives nanoethicists the ability to help shape the science and ensure that ethical considerations such as the social implications of any one theory are taken into account as nanotechnological pursuits are undertaken. On the flip side, the close proximity nanoethicists would have to scientists engaging in experimentation on the nanoscale might leave the ethicists open to becoming somewhat swayed in their opinions about the science, based in whole or in part on their relationship to the scientist involved. The author identifies many themes in the writing Science, Technology and Society scholars, such as a rejection of technological determinism, the contingency of technological development, sociotechnological system-building, and the value of technology. They even question whether nanoethics have failed in determining whether or not the science should exist, though the tenor of the article suggests there are more opportunities than pitfalls to the discipline.