'Nanoethics'? What's New?

Hastings Center Report, Vol. 37, p. 22, 2007

4 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2008

See all articles by Paul Litton

Paul Litton

University of Missouri School of Law

Date Written: December 4, 2008


The nanotechnology hype, engendering both fanatical optimism and apocalyptic fears, has produced calls from different commentators for "a radical change in the way we address ethical issues" and a "novel [ethical] approach to the future" that must be divorced from existing moral theories. However, a unique ethical framework devised specifically for nanotechnology is both impossible and unnecessary. The ethical issues predicted to accompany nanomedicine and nanotechnology (e.g., safety, justice, and privacy concerns) are raised by medicine, biotechnology, genetics, and other technologies, and will call for balancing familiar values: autonomy, beneficence, fairness, etc. At present, ethical attention should concentrate on safety and environmental studies and preparing for unforeseeable consequences, while the scientific community should prepare for a public dialogue.

Keywords: Nanotechnology, Nanoethics, Nanomedicine, Environment, Ethics and Technology

Suggested Citation

Litton, Paul, 'Nanoethics'? What's New? (December 4, 2008). Hastings Center Report, Vol. 37, p. 22, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1311533

Paul Litton (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

Missouri Avenue & Conley Avenue
Columbia, MO MO 65211
United States

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