Potential expectations of biotechnologies: A model for the analysis of conflicts about new technologies
AbstractDebates on new technologies commonly seem to be irrational. In an even higher degree this might be true for the expectations that are evoked by recent biotechnologies. A typical constellation is like this: While A expresses fears (more precisely: angst) concerning a new technology, those fears are taken up to be absurd by B. And while B criticizes that A’s scenarios lack a realistic basis, A complains about not being taken serious. Thus the conflicting parties accuse each other of behaving irrational (‚why can they not understand what is so obvious‘) or even malicious (‚they actually do not try to‘). This article deals with this mutual suspicion of irrationality and provides an explanation focusing on structural reasons for conflicts of that kind. An explanation is reached on the basis of a model that describes the genesis of expectations regarding technological potentials. These expectations are concerned with the anticipation that a technology has the power to fundamentally change our life. Based on this model a different examination of discourses on technologies is possible: The existence of structurally different levels of communication about technology is demonstrated - plus that the levels themselves can stay undiscovered by the conflicting groups due to structural reasons. And as the levels in communication remain concealed the impression of a slippery slope of rationality prevails. Keywords: technology assessment, expectation, new technologies, communication, scenario
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Articles published in Philosophy and Society are open-access in accordance with the CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License.