Challenges in the Evaluation of Nanoscale Research - Ethical Aspects
Vol. 1, Num. 3
The author here looks to first create an ethical framework for goal-directed activities, then to apply this more general rubric specifically to nanotechnology. Through an analysis of the general and specific goals of nanotechnology, such as medical and military applications, it can be better understood as to whether or not nanotechnology can significantly improve the lives of human beings, which should be the end goal of any scientific pursuit and could be a handy way of testing the utility of any experiment. The author finds that, in certain situations and with certain aims, nanotechnology can improve the conditions and quality of life of large groups in society, provided that: (a) this research is directed at certain goals, (b) at least some of the opportunities are exploited for the good of mankind, (c) the key obstacles on the road are eliminated, reduced or circumvented, and (d) this is done in ethically acceptable ways. While this may seem restrictive, the point here is to ensure that only those technologies that could better mankind, and not those meant for profit or power, be undertaken.