Against over-estimating the role of ethics in technology development

Author: Grunwald, Armin

Source: Science and Engineering Ethics, Volume 6, Number 2, June 2000 , pp. 181-196(16)

Publisher: Springer

Buy & download fulltext article:


Price: $47.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


The role of ethics in technology development has been often questioned, especially in the early days of societal reflection of technology. However, the situation has changed dramatically. Ethical consideration now is generally declared to be indispensable in shaping technology in a socially acceptable and sustainable way. The expectations of ethics are large; often even a kind of “New Ethics” is postulated. In the present paper an over-estimation of the role of ethics for technology development is rejected. It is argued that ethical reflection is, indeed, indispensable in certain problem areas and situation types; but there is, on the other hand, space for technology development free from the requirement for ethical reflection. The absence of a requirement for ethical reflection, however, always has to be considered relative to some “morale provisoire” (provisional morality) as an accepted normative framework within which technology development may occur without explicit ethical reflection. If this framework, however, is doubted or is shown to be insufficient the situation changes completely. Ethical reflection in this case becomes necessary, to consider this normative framework in order to offer modifications or supplements.
Related content


Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content

Text size:

A | A | A | A
Share this item with others: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. print icon Print this page