The Ethic Dimension of Technology. The case of technologies to prolong life Giulia Caramaschi 7th International Conference of Sociocybernetics Social Knowledge for the Contemporary World Murcia, Spain, June 18-23 2007
Summary Technology in a net of structural couplings A multi-dimensional approach to technology Technologies to prolong life
Ethic dimension of technology as:
a dialectic dimension
a second order technology
society technology individuals Technology in a net of structural couplings
not completely pre-viewable effects of technological artifacts (will technology work?) unknown reaction of the environment in front of technology (will technology be accepted? How it will be used?) Technology in a net of structural couplings Technologies and society Technologies and individuals risk
A multi-dimensional approach to technology Technology as a concrete artifact (technology that has to work) Technology as a communicative construct (technology that has to be accepted) discourses, laws, politics debate etc., are continuously created in order to manage and promote the possibility of technology to be accepted
A multi-dimensional approach to technology discourses, laws, politics debate etc… that specify the uses of technology that become themselves technology they give rise to rules and praxis to manage technology they become instruments to manage complexity, as the technology they rise from
A multi-dimensional approach to technology A first definition of technology
technology defined as a functioning simplification, a causal closure, or also a boundary between controlled or non controlled causality (Niklas Luhmann)
this definition can be applied non only to concrete artifacts, but also to all the rules, the code, the procedure, the shared and formalized uses of technology Communication process is a functioning simplification of technology, thus it is technology itself.
A multi-dimensional approach to technology An extension of the definition of technology
It makes no difference whether one considers as artifacts things of a tangible “hardware” nature such as bowls and clubs or forks and spoons, or tools and devices engines, railways, spacecraft, radios, computers, and so on; or things of software nature such as theories or laws of science, philosophical systems, remedies or even diseases in medicine, forms or styles in painting or poetry or drama or music, and so on. (Marshall McLuhan)
A multi-dimensional approach to technology This definition implies two recursive processes
technology generates continuously communication
technology generates continuously technology
new rules, new procedures that work because they represent functioning simplification of technology itself
Technology to prolong life and euthanasia Technology to prolong life have constructed the problem of euthanasia They generated the problem They gave rise to communications (and decisions) about the problem They gave rise to euthanasia as a technology HOW?
Technology to prolong life and euthanasia the individual level the social level doubts about the real efficacy of the technology , possible uselessness of the cure
excessive interference by social systems on life and death
TECHNICAL RISKS COMMUNICATIVE RISKS
possibility that individuals refuse technology
Technology to prolong life and euthanasia the individual level the social level
Individuals can refer to beliefs, emotionality, values
How is it possible to manage uncertainty?
medical system, as a social system, can refer to communication (moral, laws, science etc.)
Individuals develop their own ethics of life – aimed at defending life
Medical system develops an ethics of medicine – aimed at reproducing its operation
Ethic dimension of technology as a dialectic dimension Ethics of life Ethics of medicine the ethics dimension of technology reciprocal observation and reactions technology has to be accepted technology has to be accepted technology has to be useful
Ethic dimension of technology as a second order artifact the ethics dimension of technology Ethics as a reflection about morality: how morality is presented, through which criterion it should be oriented. Ethics of technology: a reflection about the moral use of technology as it should be.
Ethic dimension of technology as a second order artifact the ethics dimension of technology It serves to administrate technology (rules, codes, functioning simplification of technology) It determines the use of technology (concrete praxis, decisions) It is a technology itself – or a second order technology.