Pascale Molinier, Patricia Paperman

Biotechnology and Relational Responsibility. How Nanotechnology Raises Specific Ethical Questions

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Keywords: Ethics of Care; Responsibility; Nanotechnology; Workers in the Lab; Ways of Being Human.

This paper relies upon fieldwork with physicists working with nanotechnology. We conducted individual and collective interviews with senior researchers, PhD students, and with engineers, their industrial partners. What forms of ethical thought and responsibility do they develop? Does the notion of responsibility, as used by care ethicists, make sense for this kind of activity? One of the results is the emphasis on the distressing aspects of moral thinking in nanomedicine, as soon as we leave the sphere of generalities and turn towards a more particularized thought, making space for identifications, lived experience and attachments. The moral activity focuses on the new ways of being human generated by techno-science and on what is good for us or according to us to know or not to know.

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