Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Moral Imagination, Trading Zones, and the Role of the Ethicist in Nanotechnology

Gorman, Michael E

Journal Information:
Vol. 3, Num. 3


This paper seeks to plant the ethicist in the laboratory itself, working alongside the pioneering nanotechnologist to determine what paths are and are not safe to explore. As the authors point out, it is the very earliest stages in a science like this where the most freedom for movement and experimentation are existent, but this is also the point at which there is the least ability to see the consequences of ones actions. While the authors firmly believe the ethicists should work with engineers and scientists at this formative stage, they also realize that a real and valuable dialogue depends on a method of meaningful communication, and suggest that the establishment of a trading zone coupled with moral imagination present one method for such collaborative communication. The ability of ethicists in these trading zones to assist scientists in moral imagination, to let them see where their science might take humanity, could be a major boon to the field and the species.