Distributing responsibility in the debate on sustainable biofuels

Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (4):531-543 (2009)
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Abstract

In the perception of technology innovation two world views compete for domination: technological and social determinism. Technological determinism holds that societal change is caused by technological developments, social determinism holds the opposite. Although both were quite central to discussion in the philosophy, history and sociology of technology in the 1970s and 1980s, neither is seen as mainstream now. They do still play an important role as background philosophies in societal debates and offer two very different perspectives on where the responsibilities for an ethically sound development of novel technologies lie. In this paper we will elaborate on these to two opposing views on technology development taking the recent debate on the implementation of biofuels as a case example.

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