Obstetric Ultrasound and the Technological Mediation of Morality: A Postphenomenological Analysis

Human Studies 31 (1):11-26 (2008)
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Abstract

This article analyzes the moral relevance of technological artifacts and its possible role in ethical theory, by taking the postphenomenological approach that has developed around the work of Don Ihde into the domain of ethics. By elaborating a postphenomenological analysis of the mediating role of ultrasound in moral decisions about abortion, the article argues that technologies embody morality and help to constitute moral subjectivity. This technological mediation of the moral subject is subsequently addressed in terms of Michel Foucault’s ethical position, in which ethics is about actively co-shaping one’s moral subjectivity. Integrating Foucauldian ethics and postphenomenology, the article argues that the technological mediation of moral subjectivity should be at the heart of an ethical approach that takes the moral dimensions of technology seriously.

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