Research in technologies at the atomic and molecular levels is rapidly growing worldwide. Their promising applications in medicine, manufacturing and communication range from the development of new drugs and diagnostic tools to pollutant removal and prevention, as well as to the production of stronger and lighter materials and revolutionary ways of storing, retrieving and disseminating information.
Public opinion about nanotechnologies is already divided between the hopes nourished by their potential benefits and the fear of their possible harmful effects on the environment and humankind. In the face of this divide, Nanotechnologies, Ethics and Politics engages in a rare kind of prospective ethical reflection: What health and environmental issues arise with the use of new materials produced by nanoscale technologies? How might nanoscale devices be controlled, and what concerns attend military and biomedical applications of nanotechnologies? What opportunities might these bring for international cooperation addressing the most pressing needs of developing countries?
This volume brings together fourteen experts from around the globe – advisors to the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)– who discuss the state of the art of nanotechnology, examine the controversy surrounding its definition and explore related ethical and political issues. Their aim is to stimulate a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue about nanoscale technologies among scientists, ethicists, policy-makers, special interest groups and the general public.
Contributors: Kyunghee Choi, Erin Court, Abdallah Daar, Edith Deleury, Diane Duquet, Bert Gordijn, Donald Evans, Henk A. M. J. ten Have, Michele Jean, Jixing Liu, Fabio Salamanca-Buentello, Joachim Schummer, Peter A. Singer, Margareth Spangler Andrade.