Creating Inquiry Between Technology Developers and Civil Society Actors: Learning from Experiences Around Nanotechnology

Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (3):907-922 (2016)
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Abstract

Engaging civil society actors as knowledgeable dialogue partners in the development and governance of emerging technologies is a new challenge. The starting point of this paper is the observation that the design and orchestration of current organized interaction events shows limitations, particularly in the articulation of issues and in learning how to address the indeterminacies that go with emerging technologies. This paper uses Dewey’s notion of ‘publics’ and ‘reflective inquiry’ to outline ways of doing better and to develop requirements for a more productive involvement of civil society actors. By studying four novel spaces for interaction in the domain of nanotechnology, this paper examines whether and how elements of Dewey’s thought are visible and under what conditions. One of the main findings is that, in our society, special efforts are needed in order for technology developers and civil society actors to engage in a joint inquiry on emerging nanotechnology. Third persons, like social scientists and philosophers, play a role in this respect in addition to external input such as empirically informed scenarios and somewhat protected spaces.

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References found in this work

The public and its problems.John Dewey - 1927 - Athens: Swallow Press. Edited by Melvin L. Rogers.
Logic: The Theory of Inquiry.John Dewey - 1938 - New York, NY, USA: Henry Holt.
Modern social imaginaries.Charles Taylor - 2004 - Durham: Duke University Press.
Reconstruction in philosophy.John Dewey - 1920 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications.

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