As science becomes ever more powerful in the twenty-first century, it is likely that controversies over the ethics of its applications will increase. Already there is lively debate concerning such hot-button issues as the ethical deployment of agricultural biotechnology, nanotechnology, and the science of climate change. The capacity to participate intelligently in these high-stakes public debates—beyond the low level of contentious rhetoric now so common among TV talking heads—is more crucial than ever. In this work, accomplished scholars and noted experts focus on ethical deliberation and the larger moral context surrounding the controversies over scientific research and technological innovations. The insightful and accessible original works emphasize deliberation rather than adversarial debate—that is, they encourage the development of mental habits that enable stakeholders to work comprehensively and systematically through challenging issues with others. This compelling volume addresses such foundational issues as the need for ethics education, applying ethics to science debates, determining moral objectives, freedom versus public regulation, outlining economic considerations, and effectively communicating science to the public—all of which must be considered before examining the current debates surrounding biotechnology, nanotechnology, and climate change. Topics considered include food security, the apparent urgency of the global warming problem versus public indifference, designing nanotechnology that is mindful of ethical considerations, and much more. The views expressed here will help students and citizens alike become better informed about science and will go far toward promoting constructive discussion about the values at stake in contemporary debates over scientific research and emerging technologies.
"This is a terrific book, stimulating, provocative, enjoyable. I learned a huge amount about science and values, and how these sorts of things really matter in education and the marketplace. I recommend it strongly."
-MICHAEL RUSE, author of Defining Darwin
"Almost transcending its title, this collection lives up to its promise of ethical deliberation that is more productive than polarizing, adversarial debate. The range of topics is inclusive: disease and health, agriculture and food, biodiversity, science and policy, regulation, public funding of science, and science and economics. The contributors consider equity and efficiency in science, science and justice, advocacy, uncertainty, complexity, sustainability, climate change, genetically modified organisms, nanotechnology, and engineering. Always, the skillful authors argue with care—care about their arguments, care about their causes, and concern for fairness. Here we move past winning a zero-sum game, or accepting compromise, to creatively cooperating for a richer community."
-HOLMES ROLSTON III, University Distinguished Professor and Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Colorado State University