German philosophers debate nanotechnology
"Nanotechnologien im Kontext" is a collection of essays by German philosophers on nanotechnology. Drawing on a long history in the philosophy of science, the authors cover a wide range of topics, from how information is altered as it flows from the laboratory to the academic journals to the newspapers, to the "apocalyptic ethics" of the transhumanists.
While the book is in German, a pdf of abstracts is available in English, and the editor's other nanotech tome, Nanotechnology Challenges: Implications for Philosophy, Ethics and Society, is also available in English. A few "Nanotechnologien im Kontext" key topics:
"The recent excitement about nanotechnology is only the latest offspring that comes in the bizarre form of apocalyptic ethics, propagated particularly by influential transhumanists."
"The USA spends 4 to 10 times as much as all other countries together for military R & D of nanotechnology."
"The American view of nanotech as 'inescapable fate' versus the European view of it as 'a result of a democratic agreement.'"
"How the term "future" is used in these debates: What is claimed to become reality in
the future, which arguments are given to support the predictive statements, and where are the limits and shortcomings of these arguments."
"Original information is altered during the journey from the atomic force microscope to the laboratory PC, to the academic journals and finally to the newspaper reader."
"Visualization technologies at the nano-scale change the whole order in the engineering of vision. It is no longer an extension of the human vision, but an instrumental vision, a substitute for seeing."
"As the extension of possibilities of an application of a given technology grows, so will the potential for conflicts, i.e. for normative or moral conflicts, grow too."
Christine Peterson also has a nice post about this at nanodot.