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By Armin Grunwald

The ebook investigates the which means of RRI if very little legitimate wisdom approximately effects of innovation and expertise is accessible. It proposes a hermeneutical flip to enquire narratives approximately attainable futures with admire to their modern that means rather than concerning them as anticipations of the future.

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In the field of nanotechnology, the discussions surrounding the converging technologies [ROC 02], especially those concerning the vision of improving human performance, are the most likely to become subjects of controversy in a moral respect. These questions lead to the challenge posed by knowledge policy [STE 04]: What knowledge do we want and what do we not want? Obviously, such questions will be subject to responsibility debates and deliberation. 2) Instruments, measures and practices in research and development may lead to moral conflicts regardless of the respective goals.

However, this might be misleading, at least in the field of science and technology. Concerns have been expressed [BEC 92] that responsibility would be an empty phrase without reliable meaning, that it would merely show the character of an appeal and moralization of conflicts, that it would not be able to contribute to problem solving, that the uncertainty of knowledge about future consequences of today’s decisions would render any responsibility considerations ridiculous [BEC 93] and that the complex governance of modern science and technology involving many actors would lead to the effect of “thinning” responsibility.

3 Without a rather clear picture of those future consequences, any ethics of responsibility falls under the suspicion either to fail, or to lead to mere arbitrary conclusions [HAN 06], or to end up in mere political rhetoric. It is exactly this relation which leads to severe conceptual problems in RRI debates on responsibility for highly uncertain techno-visionary futures (Chapter 3). 2). This extension of the object of responsibility is in line with the hermeneutic circle: searching for meaning and its further development by processing the circle shows consequences not only in far futures but also during present debates and in present decision making.

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