Ethics and Nanotechnology: A Basis for Action

Publication Date : 2006
418 Visited Entry Date : 2013/04/08

CANADA

Persian
Volume 10
Document type Report
Subject Ethics
Summary
The present position statement consists of three chapters devoted to the scientific, legal and ethical implications of nanotechnology. In its ethical assessment of nanotechnology, the Commission is upholding the protection of health and the environment, as well as respect for many values such as dignity, liberty, the integrity of the person, respect for the person, quality of life, respect for privacy, justice and equity, transparency and democracy.
The Commission has formulated eight recommendations to political decision-makers and other interested parties. However, the Commission has sometimes found it impossible to make a specific recommendation on a given subject, even when it judged that subject to be important. In such cases, the Commission has issued a commentary instead, in order to highlight the implications of a particular question so that Québec society as a whole may be in a better position to act and make informed decisions about nanotechnology.

Content
List of acronyms
 
Summary, Recommendations and Commentaries
 
INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1  – A NEW AND EMERGING WORLD: THE UNIVERSE OF NANOTECHNOLOGY
    A world to discover     
     Nanoscience and nanotechnology: on a nanometer scale          
Important aspects to consider: a premise for ethical questioning          
The size of nanometric components               
The new properties of nanometric matter               
Manipulating material               
Multidisciplinary approaches and the convergence of disciplines               
A general fascination               
Main areas of research and innovation          
Nanomaterials               
Nanoelectronics               
Nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine               
Nanometrology               
Expectations and concerns worth considering     
           Projected benefits          
In the health sector               
In the environment sector               
In the information technology sector               
In the agriculture and food sector               
From fiction to reality          
The self-replication of nanorobots and global ecophagy               
Promises that sometimes prove unrealistic               
Raising questions, upholding values          

CHAPTER 2  – LOOKING AT METHODS FOR MANAGING THE SECTOR
     Risk and nanotechnology     
 The nature of risks to consider          
 Assessment and risk management methods: a few observations and questions          
The current framework    
 Canadian statutes and regulations         
Québec statutes and regulations         
 International instruments         
Supporting industry         
A Basis for Action         
Responsible approaches to dealing with risk    
The precautionary principle         
A few clarifications               
Action steps               
The “life cycle” approach from the perspective of sustainable development         

CHAPTER 3 – NANOTECHNOLOGY: ETHICAL CONCERNS
Fundamental requirements as premises     
The need to establish common scientific terminology and nomenclature         
The importance of establishing procedures and standards         
The pursuit of research and the dissemination of results         
Ethical concerns about products derived from nanotechnology    
Human health         
Health and safety               
Protecting the workers               
Protecting the public               
Health sector applications               
Ethics of biomedical research               
Diagnostics and therapeutic applications               
The environment         
Security         
In the military sector               
A few examples of “nanomilitary” applications               
An overview of ethical concerns               
In civil society               
The convergence of knowledge and technology         
Human identity in a context of performance enhancement               
Humankind’s relationship with nature               
Ethical concerns not limited to nanotechnology    
Concerns related to governance    
Legitimacy and transparency of the decision-making process          
Oversight and accountability measures          
Concerns related to economic activity associated with nanotechnology    
Ethical choices in the development of Québec economic activity associated with nanotechnology          
The nano-divide in a context of globalized markets          
Guiding nanotechnology R&D          
Possessing nanotechnology expertise          
Intellectual property and patent management          
Collecting personal information          
Concerns related to citizenship and technological innovation    

CONCLUSION

Glossary

Bibliography

Recommended Sites

Appendices
Appendix 1 : A few examples of nanotechnology applications
Appendix 2 : Summary of applications areas for nanotechnology
 Appendix 3 : Proposed taxonomy of the major issues likely to face nanotechnology in research, development  and commercialization in Canada
 
The Consultation and Information Activities of the Commission

Members of the Commission de l’éthique de la science et de la technologie

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