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Page last update: 25/12/2008

Ethics of technology: an ethics of collective co-responsibility

“(…) contemporary society is not only characterized by the differentiation of roles but also by the intensified institutionalization of the social-institutional spheres in which the role differentiation takes place. Science, engineering, economics, education, politics, art, religion, and more have all become so institutionally distinct that they largely determine the conditions for their own functioning.“ says Dr. Rene von Schomberg in “From the Ethics of Technology towards an Ethics of Knowledge Policy and Knowledge assessment” working document he wrote for the services of the European Commission. The thesis takes as its point of departure the contested assumption that the current ethical theories cannot capture adequately the ethical and social challenges of scientific and technological development.

The author reflects upon the difficulties of developing ethical frameworks for (new) technologies in the context of an ethics of responsibility. The principle shortcomings of contemporary ethical theory with regard to the challenges of scientific and technological development are discussed. A case is made for the need of an ethics of collective co-responsibility.

Such an ethics should focus on the ethics of knowledge assessment and knowledge policy in the framework of deliberative procedures, rather than on the ethics of technologies as such. Furthermore, the document tries to identify the deliberative procedures and processes in the science-society interface in which ethical issues concerning new technologies are discussed. The document ends with a preliminary and descriptive overview of how currently the issue of nanotechnology is addressed in deliberative frameworks at the European Level.

Source: CORDIS sources
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Last update: 25 December 2008 | Top