Exploring Techno-Moral Change: The Case of the ObesityPill

Tsjalling Swierstra, Dirk Stemerding, Marianne Boenink

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)


    Technology is a major force in modern societies, co-shaping most of its aspects, including established moral norms and values. Technology Assessment aims to explore the consequences of New and Emerging Science and Technology [NEST] in advance, to help create better technology. This article develops a method for enhancing our moral imagination with regard to future techno-moral change. At the core of this method lies so-called NEST-ethics, the argumentative patterns and tropes that constitute the ‘grammar’ of ethical discussions about emerging technologies. This grammar can be applied to explore at forehand the moral controversies and even the moral changes that are provoked by these technologies. In the form of alternative techno-moral scenarios these explorations can be used to inform and enhance public deliberation on the desirability of the NEST in question. This results in a type of ethical TA that is self-reflective regarding its own moral standards. To illustrate our method, we offer ‘fragments’ of a techno-moral scenario on the moral consequences of the introduction of a future ObesityPill.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEvaluating New Technologies
    Subtitle of host publicationMethodological Problems for the Ethical Assessment of Technology Developments
    EditorsPaul Sollie, Marcus Düwell
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    Number of pages19
    ISBN (Electronic)978-90-481-2229-5
    ISBN (Print)978-90-481-2228-8
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Publication series

    NameThe International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology
    ISSN (Print)1875-0044
    ISSN (Electronic)1875-0036

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