The Newness of Nanoethics and the Consequentialist Bias
While many authors agree that a necessary condition for considering nanoethics as a new distinct field of inquiry is that some ethical problem arising in nanotechnology be new, I argue that we have good reasons to consider nanoethics as a new distinct field of applied ethics, although we have no good reason to think that any new ethical problem shows up in it. In fact, I claim that nanoethics will ask us to reshape our ways of conceiving reality, the relationship between ourselves and the external world, and the whole ethical dimension of such relationship – and this is enough for considering it as a new distinct field of inquiry. Then I offer a view of what is part of nanoethics and what is not, and in particular I argue that – under an account of ‘ethics’ and ‘nanoethics’ as battlefields for arguments supporting rival ethical conclusions – even a description of what people ethically think about nanotechnology, or a description of nanoethics itself, are not part of nanoethics. Finally I consider the possibility of a consequentialist bias affecting nanoethics: I admit that risks have inappropriately monopolised the debate and that some interesting nanoethical issues may have nothing to do with risks, but I also stress that it is particularly difficult to adopt a non-consequentialist view in nanoethics, because non-consequentialism presupposes that consequences are going to fall within a known range of possibilities, and this presupposition is not attainable in nanotechnology.
Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XV (2013) 1
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Fabio Bacchini, "The Newness of Nanoethics and the Consequentialist Bias", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XV (2013) 1, pp. 321-332.