A Lay Ethics Quest for Technological Futures: About Tradition, Narrative and Decision-Making
SourceNanoethics, 10, 3, (2016), pp. 233-244
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
Making better choices about future technologies that are being researched or developed is an important motivator behind lay ethics interventions. However, in practice, they do not always succeed to serve that goal. Especially authors who have noted that lay ethicists sometimes take recourse to well-known themes which stem from old, even ‘archetypical’ stories, have been criticized for making too little room for agency and decision-making in their approach. This paper aims to contribute to a reflection on how lay ethics can acquire more practical relevance. It will use resources in narrative ethics to suggest that in order to be relevant for action, facilitators of lay ethics interventions need to invite participants to engage in a narrative quest. As part of a quest, lay ethicists should be asked to (1) reflect on a specific question or choice, (2) use diverse (imaginative) input which is informative about the heterogeneity of viewpoints that are defended in society and (3) argue for their standpoints.
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