Organising collective responsibility: Ethics of Co-responsibility

Both available theories of ethics and actual practiced ethics of role-responsibility are deficient in addressing the socio-ethical dimension of socio-technological change.

Ethical theories are deficient since they either adress the intentions of individuals or the consequences of their intended action (or a combination of both) as the starting point of ethical responsibility.  Technological change can neither be traced down to intentions of individuals nor can all intended or unintended consequences and side-consequences of technological change be related to a “responsible subject”.

Actual role responsibility of professional engineers and scientist in the context of technological change can not fully determine “who is responsible for what”.

An ethics of co-responsibility is required and can only be implemented through mechanisms well beyond the legal system.

You can download here two articles expanding on above issue

  1. In Memory of Karl-Otto Apel: the challenges of a universalistic ethics of co-responsibily :

   2.           My key note lecture at the first annual conference of the Society for the Study of       Nanoscience and Emerging technologies addresses this issue.

Free pdf:


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