Anticipating the Unknown: The Ethics of Nanotechnology
It is argued that only a pragmatist ethics is sufficient for making ethical decisions in situations dealing with the unknown. The pragmatist ethics described here is one that emphasizes the role of the community when making descisions. Making a moral decision requires asking what the consequences of your actions are for the living the Good Life, where what the Good Life includes accounting for the actions and decisions of the other members of the community. I argue that it is crucial to making moral decisions to recognize that they are not made in a vacuum. Hence making decisions about implementing innovative technologies involving nanotechniques requires taking into account what others are doing and how their actions are likely to impact yours and the environment.
KeywordsPragmatism ethics the good life law of unintended consequences nanotechnology
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Hume, David (1739, 1888). Treatise on Human Nature, edited by L.A. Selby-Bigge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- James, William (1907). Lectures on Pragmatism. New York: Longmans, Green & Co.Google Scholar
- Keulartz, Josef, Korthaartz, Michel, Schermer, Maartje, Swierstra, Tsjalling, editors (2002). Pragmatist Ethics for a Technological Culture. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.Google Scholar
- Peirce, Charles S. (1878, 1955). “How to Make Our Ideas Clear”, in Philosophical Writings of Peirce, edited by J. Buchler. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
- pitt, Joseph C. (2000). Thinking About Technology. New York: Seven Bridges Press.Google Scholar
- pitt, Joseph (2003) Against the Perennial. Techne; The Society for Philosophy and Technology Quarterly Journal (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/SPT/) 7(2):Google Scholar
- Sellars, Wilfrid (1963). “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man”, in Science, Perception, and Reality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar