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Document Details :
Title: Technology Assessment or Ethics of Technology?
Subtitle: Reflections on Technology Development between Social Sciences and Philosophie
Author(s): GRUNWALD, Armin
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 6 Issue: 2 Date: 1999
The scientific discussion on how to acquire and establish orientational knowledge for decisionmakers facing the ambivalence of technology is sectoralized into two branches: the ethics of technology and technology assessment (TA). The following two sections of this paper comprise a brief review of the conflicting arguments postulated by the proponents of these two approaches. First the critical arguments of TA towards the ethics of technology are summarized (part 2), followed by the critical arguments vice versa (part 3). The review is mainly based on the debate in Germany, also taking into account some other relevant work. In addition to the obvious fact that the author is more familiar with this debate than with the discussions in other countries, this is justified by the observation that the conflict between philosophical ethics and the social sciences has a long tradition especially in Germany (for example the principle of value neutrality postulated by Max Weber). At present, the most important area in which this long-standing conflict is in progress is centred on the question of how to handle the impact and consequences of technology and science, how to shape the future of technology and society and how to gain orientational knowledge for answering these questions.