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The Hermeneutic Side of Responsible Research and Innovation

ISBN: 978-1-119-34091-1
234 pages
November 2016, Wiley-ISTE
The Hermeneutic Side of Responsible Research and Innovation (1119340918) cover image

Description

The book investigates the meaning of RRI if little or no valid knowledge about consequences of innovation and technology is available. It proposes a hermeneutical turn to investigate narratives about possible futures with respect to their contemporary meaning instead of regarding them as anticipations of the future.

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Table of Contents

Foreword  ix

Preface xiii

Chapter 1. What Makes New Science and Technology Meaningful to Society? 1

1.1. Motivation and objectives  1

1.2. The need for orientation in NEST fields  8

1.3. Short propaedeutic 12

1.3.1. The meaning of “sociotechnical meaning”  12

1.3.2. NEST: new and emerging science and technologies  13

1.3.3. Techno-visionary futures  15

1.4. A brief guide to this book  17

1.4.1. The flow of argumentation 17

1.4.2. The chapters  18

1.4.3. The achievements 22

Chapter 2. Extending the Object of Responsibility Assessments in RRI 25

2.1. Motivation and overview 25

2.2. Some impressions of RRI debates so far  27

2.3. A pragmatic view on the notion of responsibility  31

2.3.1. The concept of responsibility  32

2.3.2. The EEE approach to responsibility  34

2.3.3. Responsibility assessment  35

2.4. The object of responsibility debates in RRI so far  38

2.5. The object of responsibility debates in RRI: an extension 39

2.6. Concluding remarks  43

Chapter 3. Assessing Responsibility by Considering Techno-Futures  45

3.1. Responsibility assessments: introduction and overview 45

3.2. Brief remarks on the epistemology of prospective knowledge 46

3.2.1. The epistemologically precarious character of prospective knowledge  47

3.2.2. Futures as social constructs 48

3.3. Responsibility for NEST: the orientation dilemma  50

3.3.1. Challenges to providing orientation in NEST fields  52

3.3.2. The orientation dilemma 55

3.4. Three modes of orientation  56

3.4.1. Prediction and prognostication: mode 1 orientation  57

3.4.2. Scenarios and the value of diversity: mode 2 orientation  58

3.4.3. The value of divergence: mode 3 orientation 60

3.5. The hermeneutic approach to techno-visionary futures 61

Chapter 4. Definitions and Characterizations of NEST as Construction of Meaning  65

4.1. Motivation and point of departure 65

4.2. Some observations from NEST debates  66

4.2.1. Nanotechnology  66

4.2.2. Synthetic biology 68

4.2.3. Enhancement 71

4.3. The pragmatic character of definitions 72

4.4. Defining and characterizing as meaning-giving activity  75

Chapter 5. Understanding Nanotechnology: A Process Involving Contested Assignments of Meaning  79

5.1. Nanotechnology: a paradigmatic RRI story  79

5.2. The early time of nanotechnology: troubled beginnings  82

5.2.1. Apocalyptic techno-visionary futures related to nano 82

5.2.2. Threats to human health and the environment  84

5.2.3. Philosophical characterizations 86

5.3. Defining nanotechnology: a mission impossible?  89

5.4. The meaning of nanotechnology: the shift from a revolutionary to a quite normal technology  94

5.4.1. Looking back: the development of nanotechnology’s meaning 94

5.4.2. Hermeneutic work on nanotechnology  96

5.4.3. Lessons learned for RRI debates  99

Chapter 6. Robots: Challenge to the Self-Understanding of Humans 101

6.1. Autonomous technology: challenges to our comprehension 101

6.2. Robots that can make plans and Man’s self-image  103

6.2.1. Planning robots  103

6.2.2. Planning as special type of acting 105

6.2.3. Step 1: Can robots act?  107

6.2.4. Step 2: What do robots do when they plan? 109

6.2.5. The difference between planning humans and planning robots 113

6.3. Technology futures in robotics 115

6.4. The hermeneutic view of robots 119

Chapter 7. Enhancement as a Cipher of the Future 123

7.1. Introduction and overview  123

7.2. On the semantics of (technical) enhancement 125

7.2.1. Enhancement as action  125

7.2.2. Technical enhancement 127

7.3. Human enhancement 128

7.3.1. Enhancement in history: some ambivalences  128

7.3.2. Human enhancement: some illustrations 130

7.3.3. Healing, doping and enhancement 132

7.3.4. Human enhancement: from visions to the marketplace  136

7.4. Animal enhancement 138

7.5. Conclusions 142

7.5.1. Conclusions I: dissolving borders between humans, animals and technology 142

7.5.2. Conclusions II: better understanding contemporary time  144

7.5.3. Conclusions III: technicalizing the self-image of humans  148

7.5.4. Conclusions IV: RRI debates on enhancement 149

7.6. Enhancement as a cipher of the future 151

Chapter 8. Technology to Combat Climate Change: the Hermeneutic Dimension of Climate Engineering  153

8.1. Climate change and the ambivalence of technology 153

8.2. Limitations of the previous approaches to finding a solution  156

8.3. Climate engineering as a technical option 157

8.4. Chances and risks of climate engineering 159

8.5. The hermeneutics of climate engineering 162

8.5.1. Climate engineering: revival of Baconism? 163

8.5.2. Expanding the object of responsibility  166

8.6. Epilogue: hermeneutic extension of the imperative of responsibility? 168

Chapter 9. Hermeneutic Assessment: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Program 169

9.1. Assigning meaning to NEST as object of responsibility  169

9.2. Hermeneutic approaches 172

9.3. The emergence of NEST meaning: hermeneutic assessment  175

9.3.1. The dynamics of assigning meaning  175

9.3.2. NEST meaning: understanding origin and process 178

9.3.3. NEST meaning: understanding content  180

9.3.4. NEST meaning: understanding diffusion and impact  183

9.4. Reflection and epilogue  185

Inspiration Behind the Chapters  189

Bibliography  191

Index 215

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