Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Nano-ethics as NEST-ethics: Patterns of Moral Argumentation About New and Emerging Science and Technology

Swierstra, Tsjalling

Journal Information:
Vol. 1, Num. 1


This article connects the emerging idea of nanoethics with a more established idea, new & emerging science & technology ethics, or NEST-ethics. The problem these author see is that most calls for nanoethics so far have not really dealt with nanotechnology or the ethics involved, but rather ethics of progress and/or negative impact through new technology. Through providing a number of arguments and ideas, the authors look to find examples of ethical questions that are specific to nanotechnology, and not simply NEST-ethics. The conclusion they draw is that the key point for nano-ethics is that no stable consequentialist assessment is possible for nanotechnology as a whole. While they do not seem sold on the necessity of a separate field of nanoethics, they seem in the end to accept the idea that, if approached with a pragmatic ethical mind, this field could contribute much in the way of bringing nanotechnology to people with a minimum of risk involved.