Science, Ethics, and Technological Assessment

by DONALD L. HATCHER
5th ed., August 2011, 308 pages, $29.95
ISBN 978-0-89641-504-1

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The purpose of Science, Ethics and Technological Assessment is to help citizens understand the relation among science, ethics and technological assessment so that specific public policy issues can be evaluated more intelligently: that is, from both practical and ethical perspectives. The gravity of many of these decisions is so great that responsible citizens are left with no alternative but to become actively involved in the process.

There are many books on the methods of science. There are many more on ethics. There is also a growing number on the social problems created by technology and unenlihtened technological assessment. This book tries, in three short chapters, to integrate all three areas, giving readers an adequate understanding of both scientific methods and ethical frameworks necessary for an intelligent evaluation of alternative policies connected to technological change. Given its design, readers familiar with ethics and the logic of ethical decision making should learn a good deal about science and technological assessment, while th scientist or technologist should learn a good deal about ethics.

CONTENTS

  • Chapter 1: THE NATURE OF SCIENTIFIC THINKING
    The Obligation to Understand the Methods of the Sciences
    On the Methods of the Natural and Social Sciences
    The Challenge of Radical Relativism
    Some Further Criticisms of the Scientific Approach to Knowledge
    The Priviledged Position of Science
    What Happens when Scientists Disagree?
    Some Problems with Science and Risk Assessment
    Discussion Questions

  • Chapter 2: BRINGING ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS TO POLICY DECISIONS
    The Importance of Understanding Normative and Applied Ethics
    Some Inadequate Approach to Normative Principles
    A Quasi-Kantian Approach to Ethical Values
    Three Additional Approaches to Ethical Issues (Utilitarianism, Existential Ethics, Rawlsian Contract  Theory)
    Applying Ethical Theories
    Values in Conflict
    Conclusion
    Discussion Questions

  • Chapter 3: TECHNOLOGY: A BLESSING OR A CURES?
    Introduction
    What is Technology?
    The Symbiotic Relationship Between Science and Technology
    Living in a Technological World
    The Debate Over Technology
    The Argument for Technology
    A Few Arguments Against Contemporary Technology
    The Daunting Tasks of Technological Assessment and Control
    Conclusion
    Discussion Questions

  • WORKS CITED

  • INDEX

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Donald L. Hatcher is a professor of Philosophy and Religion at Baker University in Baldwin City, KS. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.