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Emerging Conceptual, Ethical and Policy Issues in Bionanotechnology

This volume provides a critical overview of the nature of nanotechnology (and its applications in the biomedical sciences, i.e. bionanotechnology) and the philosophical and ethico-legal issues it raises. This collection of thirteen articles represents an exploration by scholars from various disciplines (philosophy, anthropology, law, social sciences, psychology, and natural sciences) in North America and Europe. The book contains four major parts respectively entitled 1) Knowledge Production in Nanotechnoscience; 2) Ethics and (Bio)Nanotechnology; 3) Public Policy and (Bio)Nanotechnology; and 4) Human Enhancement and (Bio)Nanotechnology.

In the first section, authors examine the nature of nanotechnology as a scientific project and critically reflect on its philosophical underpinnings. The next section introduces the readers to a new area of investigation that explicitly addresses the ethics of nanotechnology/bionanotechnology. More specifically, it examines the theoretical framework(s) necessary to sustain rich ethical reflections at the core of the development of nanotechnology. The third section expands on the ethics of nanotechnology/bionanotechnology but focuses on legal and public policy issues and how the public perception of nanotechnology could ultimately shape policies and regulations. Ultimately these three perspectives (the nature of nanotechnology, ethical approaches and regulatory issues) will shape and frame the discourse on nanobiotechnology. The final section focuses on how scientific progress could affect humans through enhancement technologies and critically assesses whether such progress actually contributes to human flourishing.

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