The Handbook of Research on Technoethics was inspired by innovative work carried out by a group of dedicated scholars from diverse academic backgrounds who share a deep concern with the rapidly expanding world of technology and the new ethical issues arising through its growing influence in society. Mario Bunge’s first attempt at articulating this field in the 1970s had an important influence on how the field has evolved. He contributed by raising important questions about the type of relationships that engineers and technologists ought to have with the technologies they create. This spurred work within the Philosophy of Technology and a variety of areas of Applied Ethics which helped shape Technoethics as a field of inquiry with a practical focus on all areas of human conduct affected by technological development. In 2005, the long awaited Encycolopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics, edited by Carl Mitcham, was another important work in the field. This was a four-volume publication with a vast list on contributing authors and entries. Although this work was limited to mostly short descriptive pieces, it attested to the widespread scholarly interest revolving around ethical issues in science and technology. It also raised awareness among scholars of the need for future work that provided more in-depth coverage of ethical issues focused primarily on technology. The rapid advancement of technology in contemporary society, combined with growing scholarly attention to its social and ethical implications, continues to raise new ethical considerations requiring special attention from this newly formed field of Technoethics.
It proved to be a protracted battle to present such a broad set of chapters in a way that best reflected developments in the field. The first strategy considered was to organize chapters based solely on existing areas of Applied Ethics with a technology focus. This had the advantage of demonstrating to the reader the broad scope of Technoethics and its connectors to existing work in Applied Philosophy. The disadvantage was that many branches of Applied Ethics share overlapping issues that need to be understood in their entirety (e.g. privacy issues are important in computer ethics and medical ethics). The second strategy, and the one adapted in this project, was to organize book chapters by kea area and by key issue in order to best represent the spirit of current scholarship in Technoethics. Introductory theoretical essays and practical case studies were also added to help situate the reader and provide detailed examples of how issues in Technoethics manifest themselves in specific real world situations.
The Handbook of Research on Technoethics should be of interest to students, instructors, researchers, ethicists, and technology scholars who need expert knowledge about technology and ethics to inform current work in technology. This handbook is organized into five parts: Part I. Theoretical Frameworks in Technoethics, Part II. Research Areas of Technoethics, Part III. Case Studies in Technoethics, Part IV. Emerging Trends and Issues in Technoethics, and Part V. Further Reading in Technoethics. Part I introduces the reader to Technoethics and related issues. It provides an overview of various theoretical perspectives connected to work in Technoethics. Contributions from experts cover diverse conceptual and historical developments. Part II introduces key areas of research in Technoethics. Areas of research in Technoethics help group Technoethics in key areas of human conduct affected by technology. Part III introduces a series of case studies in various areas of Technoethics where research on ethical aspects of technology is taking root. Part IV discusses issues and trends in Technoethics. It addresses a number of emerging issues in Technoethics and new directions. Part V provides a useful collection of additional readings chosen by the editors for readers interested in deepening their understanding of selected areas of Technoethics.
Because the issues related to technology and ethics are so broad, the Handbook of Research on Technoethics is necessarily selective. It attempts to advance in its own modest way a selective synthesis of key contemporary work on ethical aspects of technology to help guide future scholarship within a society shaped by and shaping technological developments. Despite the modest aims of this project, the editors realize that it is not possible to please all scholars, technologists, and general readers. It is hoped that this publication will stimulate the interest of sufficient numbers to continue developing this field. Critical comments and suggestions are welcome so that improvements can be made to assist the development of a second edition.
Rocci Luppicini and Rebecca Adell, Co-editors