To assess rationality before anything else. A remark on the legitimacy of Rational Technology Assessment
This involves a comment on the chapter by Michael Decker and Armin Grunwald in this volume, that is, on what these author’s have coined “Rational Technology Assessment” (RTA). And although the richness of Decker and Grunwald’s account deserves a lot more, I will confine myself to only one aspect: the “rationality” of RTA. I believe that the kind of rationality exploited in RTA makes Technology Assessment expedient, rather than legitimate. To develop my argument, I take two steps. First, I give a brief sketch of the history of Technology Assessment until the rise of social constructivist approaches, and try to explicate the rationale of RTA on the basis of this sketch. In fact, I regard RTA as a new and courageous attempt to complement social constructivist philosophy with a feasible plan of work. Second, however, I argue that RTA simultaneously divagates from this philosophy, in that it neglects its legitimate basis by depending on expert knowledge too heavily. RTA resembles what Habermas has called a “technocratic model”.
KeywordsTechnology Development Technology Assessment Public Sphere Scientific Standard Normative Bias
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