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Contemporary Moral Problems of Nanotechnologies - Essay Example

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Contemporary Moral Problems of Nanotechnologies

As a result, the technology is rife with risks and corresponding hazards. The field entails numerous unanticipated effects that could be disastrous not just for people and the environment but for the technology itself as uncertainty impacts development and its regulation. Unit II outlined the conceptual apparatus that is designed to explain and address this challenge. The first component was risk. As has been explained, much of nanotechnology is still within the area of speculation and that the risks are nothing different. These risks, which are seen to impact the environment and human health especially, were classified first by the authors into four: unwanted event that may or may not occur; the cause of an event that may or may not occur; the probability of an unwanted event which may or may not occur; and, the expected outcome of unwanted events. (Alhoff, Lin & Moore 2010, p. 74) Clearly, all the classified risks are not clearly identified especially the first two as they both are qualitative in nature. The unwanted event as cited is quite ambiguous because there is an uncertainty as to its occurrence. It may or may not happen. There is a clear sense of unknowing, which, in itself, constitutes a great part of the risks already. After the risks, the precautionary principles were outlined. The fundamental issue in this respect is the fact that there are numerous suggestions being put forward and, worse, no consensus with regards to how to prevent risks. The UNESCO’s position, however, was given due importance, which states that “when human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm.” (Alhoff & Lin 2008, p. 80) Regulation, however, claimed some semblance of common ground in the debate. Unit II was clear on the fact that regulations on nanotechnology vary across the world that is why what they have outlined was a conceptual analysis of the general debate and did not dwell on specific policy recommendations. A significant portion of this discourse was devoted to the pros and cons of the Stricter-Law argument, which posits that most laws relevant to nanotechnology are already outdated and that it is possible that they can no longer mitigate the risks involved; hence, new laws and regulations must be enacted to remedy the issue. (Alhoff, Lin & Moore, p. 103) Other alternatives cited were a total ban on nanotechnology, maintaining the status quo, and some interim solution that would perhaps balance all concerns and interests of as much stakeholders as possible. The final component of the conceptual apparatus was the equity and access to nanotechnology. It has been argued that it has tremendous potential that could revolutionize the way people live and perhaps solve many human and environmental problems across the globe. This, in combination, with the various elements found in Unit II as cited here, is roughly similar to an attempt to depict a loose cost-benefit analysis wherein the risks and advantages are set side by side each other in order to determine the best course of action on how to treat nanotechnology as a discipline and how to judge it in ethical and moral terms. Part II: Use the conceptual apparatus you reconstructed in Part I to evaluate the ethical and social implications of one of the applications of nanotechnology we engaged in Unit III. In determining the ethical and s ...Show more

Summary

Part I: Reconstruct the “conceptual apparatus” the authors elucidate in Unit II. The basic argument found in Unit II appears to work on the basis of one important assumption: that nanotechnology is still anchored on several disciplines, theories and principles today…
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