Ethics of Technology as a Starting Point for the Practice of Technology Assessment

Petr Machleidt



This article concentrates on development of the mutual relations between ethics of technology (taken as a philosophical discipline) and so called technology assessment (as a branch dealing with multi- and transdisciplinary socio-scientific issues). It shows both identical and different signs of the interactions on examples taken from Germany and from the Czech Republic. Discussion on technology in Germany is noted for its strong moral charge – we can find here both enthusiasm for technology as well as very clean cut anti-technology attitudes. As for the Czech environment, there comes to mutual mixing of various attitudes – we can trace here inspiration taken from other countries – for example from France. The original contribution of the Czech way of thinking in the field of philosophy on technology in relation to ethics represents also so called conception of laboretism. Globally said, it appears that disputes over technology have their cause in various ethical attitudes of interested stakeholders. But different conceptions of what is and/or what is not ethical can be and should be analysed by rational means. Various practical objectives of the social technology assessment should not displace ethics in technology as a methodology of discursive management of technology conflicts. Scientific consultancy has to comprise both its descriptive and prescriptive aspects. It gives a new sense to interdisciplinary co-operation among various scientific disciplines and science and technology ethics.


ethics of technology; technology assessment; responsibility; technological culture; values; sustainable development

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: