The renewed role of ethics in science and technology

The concept of ethics has generally played little role in modern science inquiry and technology development beyond a procedural notion of the term. This is in contrast to non-Western or traditional knowledge systems of the past where the inductive, experimental and knowledge-building roles of ‘science and technology’ have often been inextricably linked to prevailing social values and the physical as well as cultural determinations of specific and local contexts. However scientists and technology developers or users have not remained immune to the growing ethical concerns of different kinds of people around the world in light of the threat of ‘climate change’ and related challenges of environmental and even economic sustainability. Governments and private sector corporations as well as local social contexts everywhere have recognized the renewed importance of a common or global ethics needed to better reconcile human imperatives of development and sustainability. Thus, as reflected by an associated diagrammatic progression, the paper’s discussion of policy studies as exemplary framework for the renewed role of ethics as well for ‘global knowledge convergence’ refers to how the same three basic pillars which reflect a framework paradigm shift in science and technology studies also inform a related transition from rational or ad hoc to emergent policy-building – innovation, sustainability, and social relevance. Full paper here