Along with the rapid worldwide advance of nanotechnology, debates on associated ethical issues have spread from local to international levels. However, unlike science and engineer- ing issues, international perceptions of ethical issues are very diverse. This paper provides an analysis of how sociocultural factors such as language, cultural heritage, economics and politics can affect how people perceive ethical issues of nanotechnology. By attempting to clarify the significance of sociocultural issues in ethical considerations my aim is to support the ongoing international dialogue on nanotechnology. At the same time I pose the general question of ethical relativism in engineering ethics, that is to say whether or not different ethical views are irreconcilable on a fundamental level.
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