Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Scientific Research  Who Should Govern?

Kitcher, Philip

Journal Information:
Vol. 1, Num. 3


Though scientific pursuits were once the ralm of the private individual and funded by institutions or patrons, Kitcher points out that todays scientific research is undertaken as a collaborative effort that leaves open the question of whose word should be final in these experiments, specifically here concerning the ethical considerations of nanotechnology. He sees that scientists are experts in their field and should retain a certain level of the autonomy once won by Vannevar Bush, but also that determining what questions are worth pursuing is something scientists are unqualified to answer without the input of society in general. Kitcher recommends an advisory/regulatory Science Forum that would have the dual task of informing the public about what scientists are investigating and keeping the scientists informed as to what the public feels about that. While he recognizes that this solution is not perfect and would not make everyone (especially scientists) happy, he argues that something must be done to bring the two sectors together.