New publication: "Responsible Nanobiotechnology" [14.01.2013]

Nanotechnology is one of the most prominent key technologies for the 21st century. It could influence the future of human nature and play a role in creating artificial life. High hopes as well as deep fears related to nanotechnology are indicators for the relevance of nanotechnology. The development of nanotechnology is thus related to new debates about the human condition and the future of society as well as to the human being’s relationship to nature and technology.

This book by Armin Grunwald comprehensively reviews the considerations of nanotechnology elaborated in philosophy, ethics, and the social sciences and systematizes and develops them further. Its focus is on research and applications of nanotechnology at the interface with biotechnology, as expressed by the word "Nanobiotechnology" in the title of the book.

Issues of reflection are "nanomaterials and the Precautionary Principle", "synthetic biology and artificial life", "nanotechnological 'improvement' of animals" (animal enhancement), "technical improvement" of man (human enhancement) with a focus on neural implants. Questions and implications with regard to responsibility and accountability constitute the frame for the considerations presented.

As a result, a wide range of ethical issues relevant to nanobiotechnology are presented ranging from ery specific challenges in the use of nanomaterials to philosophical questions about the relationship between humans and animals, and the future of human nature. This reflection is only partly an ethical reflection, in a narrow sense, looking for answers to the normative uncertainties contained in the question "What is to be done?".

Rather the philosophical-hermeneutic dimension of the "big questions" comes to the fore. Debates on the human condition and self-understanding, on atomistic reductionism, on the relationship between man, nature, animals and technology, or on the technization of man or his "technical improvement" characterize the field and open up opportunities for philosophical engagement beyond ethics.

Bibliographic data:
Grunwald, A.
Responsible nanobiotechnology : philosophy and ethics. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publ., 2012. 383 p., ISBN 978-9814316804