What's Different, Ethically, About Nanotechnology?: Foundational Questions and Answers [Book Review]

NanoEthics 4 (2):115-128 (2010)
Whether nanotechnology is ethically unique and nanoethics should be treated as a field in its own right remain important, contested issues. This essay seeks to contribute to the debates on these issues by exploring several foundational questions about the relationship of ethics and nanotechnology. Ethical issues related to nanotechnology exist and adoption of a defeasible presumption that such issues amount to old ethical wine in new technological bottles appears justified. Such issues are not engendered solely by intrinsic features of the nanotechnology field, but also by contingent features of the social contexts in which work in the field unfolds. The sets of factors that engender ethical issues related to nanotechnology are combinations of social-contextual and technical elements. While there do not appear to be any qualitatively new nanotechnology-related ethical issues, nanotechnology is different, ethically, from other fields of technical inquiry in at least two ways. To avoid diluting ethical concern about nanotechnology and revival of the noxious notions of autonomous technology and technological determinism, thinking, writing, and speaking about ‘nanoethics’ should yield to thinking, writing, and speaking about ‘ethical issues related to nanotechnology in society.’ Finally, nanotechnology practitioners should become familiar with the ethical dimension of their work
Keywords The relationship between ethics and nanotechnology  Ethical issues related to nanotechnology  Unique and new ethical issues raised by nanotechnology  Nanoethics  Ethical issues related to nanotechnology in society  Criteria for a field of applied ethics to be a field in its own right  Intrinsic features of a technical field  Contingent features of a field’s social contexts  Autonomous technology  Technological determinism  Ways nanotechnology differs, ethically, from other fields of technical inquiry  Paradigm shift  The ethical dimension of nanotechnology work
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DOI 10.1007/s11569-010-0089-4
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References found in this work BETA
Marion Godman (2008). But is It Unique to Nanotechnology? Science and Engineering Ethics 14 (3):391-403.

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