Ethics in Technological Culture: A Programmatic Proposal for a Pragmatist Approach

Science, Technology and Human Values 29 (1):3-29 (2004)
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Abstract

Neither traditional philosophy nor current applied ethics seem able to cope adequately with the highly dynamic character of our modern technological culture. This is because they have insufficient insight into the moral significance of technological artifacts and systems. Here, much can be learned from recent science and technology studies. They have opened up the black box of technological developments and have revealed the intimate intertwinement of technology and society in minute detail. However, while applied ethics is characterized by a certain “technology blindness,” the most influential approaches within STS show a “normative deficit” and display an agnostic or even antagonistic attitude toward ethics. To repair the blind spots of both applied ethics and STS,the authors sketch the contours of a pragmatist approach. They will explore the tasks and tools of a pragmatist ethics and pay special attention to the exploration of future worlds disclosed and shaped by technology and the management of deep value conflicts inherent to a pluralist society.

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T. E. Swierstra
Maastricht University

References found in this work

Do artifacts have politics?Langdon Winner - 1980 - Daedalus 109 (1):121--136.
Words and life.Hilary Putnam - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Edited by James Conant.
Erläuterungen zur Diskursethik.Jürgen Habermas - 1991 - Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

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