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Anger and Forgiveness"Are You There Alone?"10 Good Questions about Life and DeathA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to BioethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to GenethicsA Companion to Muslim EthicsA Cooperative SpeciesA Critique of the Moral Defense of VegetarianismA Delicate BalanceA Fragile LifeA Life for a LifeA Life-Centered Approach to BioethicsA Matter of SecurityA Mirror Is for ReflectionA Mirror Is for ReflectionA Natural History of Human MoralityA Philosophical DiseaseA Practical Guide to Clinical Ethics ConsultingA Question of TrustA Sentimentalist Theory of the MindA Short Stay in SwitzerlandA Tapestry of ValuesA Very Bad WizardA World Without ValuesAction and ResponsibilityAction Theory, Rationality and CompulsionActs of ConscienceAddiction and ResponsibilityAddiction NeuroethicsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAfter HarmAftermathAgainst AutonomyAgainst BioethicsAgainst HealthAgainst MarriageAgainst Moral 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Values and ScienceCutting to the CoreCyborg CitizenDamaged IdentitiesDeaf Identities in the MakingDeath Is That Man Taking NamesDebating ProcreationDebating Same-Sex MarriageDecision Making, Personhood and DementiaDecoding the Ethics CodeDefining DifferenceDefining Right and Wrong in Brain ScienceDefining the Beginning and End of LifeDelusions of GenderDementiaDemocracy in What State?Demons of the Modern WorldDescriptions and PrescriptionsDesert and VirtueDesire, Practical Reason, and the GoodDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDeveloping the VirtuesDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Difference and IdentityDigital HemlockDigital SoulDignityDignityDisability BioethicsDisability, Difference, DiscriminationDiscrimination against the Mentally IllDisordered Personalities and CrimeDisorders of VolitionDisorientation and Moral LifeDivided Minds and Successive SelvesDoes Feminism Discriminate against Men?Does Torture Work?Doing HarmDouble Standards in Medical Research in Developing CountriesDown 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Challenged ProfessionsEthicsEthicsEthicsEthics and AnimalsEthics and ScienceEthics and the A PrioriEthics and the Discovery of the UnconsciousEthics and the Metaphysics of MedicineEthics at the CinemaEthics at the End of LifeEthics Case Book of the American Psychoanalytic AssociationEthics Done RightEthics ExpertiseEthics for EveryoneEthics for PsychologistsEthics for the New MillenniumEthics in CyberspaceEthics in Everyday PlacesEthics in Health CareEthics In Health Services ManagementEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in PracticeEthics in PsychiatryEthics in PsychologyEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingEthics of PsychiatryEthics without OntologyEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEthics, Sexual Orientation, and Choices about ChildrenEvaluating the Science and Ethics of Research on HumansEvilEvil GenesEvil in Modern ThoughtEvil in Modern ThoughtEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Ethics and Contemporary BiologyEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolved MoralityExperiments in EthicsExploding the Gene MythExploiting ChildhoodFacing Human SufferingFact and ValueFacts and ValuesFaking ItFalse-Memory Creation in Children and AdultsFat ShameFatal FreedomFellow CreaturesFellow-Feeling and the Moral LifeFeminism and Its DiscontentsFeminist Ethics and Social and Political PhilosophyFeminist TheoryFinal ExamFirst Do No HarmFirst, Do No HarmFlashpointFlesh WoundsForced to CareForgivenessForgivenessForgiveness and LoveForgiveness and ReconciliationForgiveness and RetributionForgiveness is Really StrangeFoucault and the Government of DisabilityFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Forensic Mental Health AssessmentFree WillFree Will And Moral ResponsibilityFree Will and Reactive AttitudesFree Will, Agency, and Meaning in LifeFree?Freedom and ValueFreedom vs. InterventionFriendshipFrom Darwin to HitlerFrom Disgust to HumanityFrom Enlightenment to ReceptivityFrom Morality to Mental HealthFrom Silence to VoiceFrom Valuing to ValueFrontiers of 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AmericaOxford Handbook of Psychiatric EthicsOxford Studies in Normative EthicsOxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 7Oxford Textbook of Philosophy of PsychiatryPassionate DeliberationPatient Autonomy and the Ethics of ResponsibilityPC, M.D.Perfecting VirtuePersonal AutonomyPersonal Autonomy in SocietyPersonal Identity and EthicsPersonalities on the PlatePersonhood and Health CarePersons, Humanity, and the Definition of DeathPerspectives On Health And Human RightsPharmaceutical FreedomPharmacracyPharmageddonPhilosophy and This Actual WorldPhilosophy of BiologyPhilosophy of Technology: The Technological ConditionPhysician-Assisted DyingPicturing DisabilityPilgrim at Tinker CreekPlaying God?Playing God?Political EmotionsPornlandPowerful MedicinesPractical Autonomy and BioethicsPractical EthicsPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical RulesPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic BioethicsPragmatic NeuroethicsPraise and BlamePreferences and Well-BeingPrimates and PhilosophersPro-Life, Pro-ChoiceProcreation and ParenthoodProfits Before People?Progress in BioethicsProperty in the BodyProzac As a Way of LifeProzac on the CouchPsychiatric Aspects of Justification, Excuse and Mitigation in Anglo-American Criminal Law Psychiatric EthicsPsychiatry and EmpirePsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychotropic Drug Prescriber's Survival GuidePublic Health LawPublic Health Law and EthicsPublic PhilosophyPunishing the Mentally IllPunishmentPursuits of WisdomPutting Morality Back Into PoliticsPutting on VirtueQuality of Life and Human DifferenceRaceRadical HopeRadical VirtuesRape Is RapeRe-creating MedicineRe-Engineering Philosophy for Limited BeingsReason's GriefReasonably ViciousReckoning With HomelessnessReconceiving Medical EthicsRecovery from SchizophreniaRedefining RapeRedesigning HumansReducing the Stigma of Mental IllnessReflections on Ethics and ResponsibilityReflections On How We LiveReframing Disease 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RightsThe Age of CulpabilityThe Age of CulpabilityThe Aims of Higher EducationThe Almost MoonThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Forensic PsychiatryThe Animal ManifestoThe Animals' AgendaThe Art of LivingThe Autonomy of MoralityThe Beloved SelfThe Best Things in LifeThe Big FixThe Bioethics ReaderThe Biology and Psychology of Moral AgencyThe Blackwell Guide to Medical EthicsThe Body SilentThe BondThe Book of LifeThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Companion to Virtue EthicsThe Cambridge Textbook of BioethicsThe Case against Assisted SuicideThe Case Against PerfectionThe Case Against PunishmentThe Case for PerfectionThe Case of Terri SchiavoThe Challenge of Human RightsThe Character GapThe Code for Global EthicsThe Colonization Of Psychic SpaceThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Common ThreadThe Connected SelfThe Constitution of AgencyThe Cow with Ear Tag #1389The Creation of PsychopharmacologyThe Criminal 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ChildThe Woman RacketThe Worldwide Practice of TortureTherapy with ChildrenThieves of VirtueThree Generations, No ImbecilesTimes of Triumph, Times of DoubtTolerance Among The VirtuesTolerance and the Ethical LifeTolerationToxic PsychiatryTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreatment Kind and FairTrusting on the EdgeTry to RememberUltimate JudgementUnborn in the USA: Inside the War on AbortionUndermining ScienceUnderstanding AbortionUnderstanding CloningUnderstanding EmotionsUnderstanding EvilUnderstanding Kant's EthicsUnderstanding Moral ObligationUnderstanding Physician-Pharmaceutical Industry InteractionsUnderstanding TerrorismUnderstanding the GenomeUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnhingedUnprincipled VirtueUnsanctifying Human Life: Essays on EthicsUnspeakable Acts, Ordinary PeopleUp in FlamesUpheavals of ThoughtUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryValue-Free Science?Values and Psychiatric DiagnosisValues in ConflictVegetarianismViolence and Mental DisorderVirtue EthicsVirtue, Rules, and JusticeVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVirtues and Their VicesVoracious Science and Vulnerable AnimalsVulnerability, Autonomy, and Applied EthicsWar Against the WeakWar, Torture and TerrorismWarrior's DishonourWeaknessWelfare and Rational CareWhat are you staring at?What Genes Can't DoWhat Have We DoneWhat Is a Human?What Is Good and WhyWhat Is Good and WhyWhat Is the Good Life?What Price Better Health?What Should I Do?What We Owe to Each OtherWhat Would Aristotle Do?What's Good on TVWhat's Normal?What's Wrong with Children's RightsWhat's Wrong with Homosexuality?What's Wrong With Morality?When Is Discrimination Wrong?Who Holds the Moral High Ground?Who Owns YouWho Qualifies for Rights?Whose America?Whose View of Life?Why Animals MatterWhy Animals MatterWhy Does Inequality Matter?Why Honor MattersWhy I Burned My Book and Other Essays on DisabilityWhy Not Kill Them All?Why Punish? How Much?Why Some Things Should Not Be for SaleWisdom, Intuition and EthicsWithout ConscienceWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and MadnessWondergenesWould You Kill the Fat Man?Wrestling with Behavioral GeneticsWriting About PatientsYou Must Be DreamingYour Genetic DestinyYour Inner FishYouth Offending and Youth Justice Yuck!
This is a very important book. The general public really have no clear idea of what will happen in the next twenty years regarding medical care, privacy of an individual's most personal medical details and the manipulation of life. Fabrice Jotterand has brought together a collection of essays which both, bring these issues to our attention in a non-dramatic, non-alarmist way, and secondly, suggest ways of handling the inherent potential of a nanotechnological juggernaut.
Without exception all essays are well written and well researched. Although primarily intended for the academic community I believe the book is still quite accessible to the general reader. The essays are not laden with abstruse technological jargon, all progress logically, introducing the various aspects of bionanotechnology, and conclude with clear summaries of their respective discussions. Even if the prospective reader has only a vague idea of nano-science if they proceed slowly, after finishing the book they will be well informed on most concerns regarding bio-nano-technological-science.
The book is divided into four sections with fourteen essays after a general Introduction.
1 -- Knowledge Production in Nanotechnoscience. This section
discusses the nature of nanotechnology and critically looks at the development and conceptual issues involved from a mainly philosophical perspective. The general reader will perhaps find this section the most academically orientated.
2 -- Ethics and (Bio)Nanotechnology. Section two looks at the relationship of ethics to the various areas of nanoscience, exploring the notion that whilst the subject "nanotechnology" is new and unprecedented the ethical considerations involved can come from our existing ethical systems. It is generally concluded that there may be areas where traditional ethics will need expansion and development but that a totally new ethics is not required to regulate and guide the growth and implementation of nanotechnology. "Almost all of the ethical issues tackled in the section above are topics that were relevant to biomedical ethics long before the development of biomedical nanotechnology. This suggests that when it comes to nonotechnology there is "nothing new under the sun of ethical reflection". (p. 78)
3 -- Public Policy and (Bio)Nanotechnology. This section, which to my mind is by far the most important, looks at legal and public policy issues and how public perception of nanotechnology could ultimately shape policies and regulations. The case of Genetically Modified food is used to show how a misinformed public is as potentially detrimental to technological advances as an uninformed public. Many possible benefits of GM food have been lost because of the misinformed public outcry against such unnatural food source manipulation.
4 -- Human Enhancement and (Bio)Nanotechnology. Probably the most frightening part of the book, this section explores different potential human enhancement scenarios, as distinct from healing outcomes. Will this enhancement, for example neural brain implants to improve memory and learning, actually contribute to "human flourishing"?. This section looks at enhancement particularly from the psychological-behavioral perspective of human attributes and argues that to ignore these in the rush to become superhumans - long lived, without illness and merged intimately with machines -- is fraught with danger.
The focus of this book is on the application of nanotechnology in the biomedical sciences, not in economics, military applications or the building industry for example. (p. 5) The book does not have the intention of providing comprehensive, practical ethical guidelines for the future implementation of nanotechnologies, but as the title suggests the issues discussed are emerging. As such it fulfils its purpose very well and I doubt if there is another book which is as comprehensive in its general coverage of the issues involved in this so called "latest scientific revolution". Some suggest it will be far more powerful than the Industrial Revolution or our current Computer Information Revolution.
Putting the melodramatic hype aside regarding the claims of extremely miraculous benefits, and conversely, the worst disaster predictions for nanotechnology applications, there are real issues which need regulations and guidelines in place before nanothings are released upon us willy nilly. Even the notion of putting guidelines in place beforehand is discussed in detail in various sections in this volume. However, my criticism of not only the essays in this book, but of academic literature generally "regarding risk-benefit assessments" is that almost without exception authors use the word we thoughtlessly. We need to develop ...... We should assess ........ Just who is this we? This is not a trivial criticism and I suggest it is perhaps the most important aspect of the whole issue.
Clearly we the general public cannot trust these decisions, which effect the global human community, to be made alone by, governments, multi-national corporations (especially pharmaceutical ones), independent research laboratories or scientists. These groups are either serving their own profit or power agendas or are myopic to the big picture. The case of the cure for stomach ulcers will suffice to make my point. Warren and Marshall, now Nobel Laureates, struggled for years to have their research findings of the true cause of stomach ulcers accepted. They were legally out-manoeuvred and out-funded by drug companies whose only agenda was to keep selling drugs such as Tagamet, which was not a cure but a band-aid approach. Tagamet was the first drug to break the $1 billion annual sales mark!
One possibility to help overcome this complex, potentially dangerous and urgent problem is for scholars to engage in deep research into the concept of "trans-science courts" as first articulated by Kantrowitz and then further developed by Weinberg in the mid-seventies. Briefly this concept sees a court style assessment of technology risks conducted by a large cross-section of individuals from all walks of life, some experts, some general public and so on. This system may not be perfect but it does have a semblance of democracy, public participation and removes the temptations of insidious control for profit-only agendas from those who have no right to make such decisions on our behalf.
Jotterand briefly mentions this public engagement concept, though not in any detail, more so from the point of view of not alienating the public from the potentially good things medical nanotechnology could bring. (p. 4) Quite a few of the essays suggest public input is desirable but they do not as mentioned provide ways to bring this about "An open dialogue must be present between scientists, physicians, patients, and the public at large" (p. 126) How and who could possibly make this happen?
I think this book will become a core text for students in the relevant disciplines and I suggest should be compulsory reading for those who are in any way involved in policy decision making in the medical health care system. Perhaps the publishers of this book could consider a companion volume. This could take the next step and present scholarly essays on the practical ways to engage a cross-section of society, perhaps in "trans-science courts", to provide ethical frameworks and guidelines for the development and implementation of bionanotechnology.
© 2009 Rob Harle
Rob Harle is an artist and writer, especially concerned with the nature of consciousness and high-body technologies. His current work explores the nature of the transition from human to posthuman, a phenomenon he calls the technoMetamorphosis of humanity. He has academic training in philosophy of mind, comparative religious studies, art and psychotherapy. Rob is an active member of the Leonardo Review Panel. For full biography and examples of art and writing work please visit his web site: http://www.robharle.com