Moral impact of technologies from a pluralist perspective: Artificial photosynthesis as a case in point

Eugen Octav Popa*, Vincent Blok, Georgios Katsoukis, Cornelius Schubert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We propose and illustrate a model for evaluating the moral impact of technologies from a pluralist perspective. We conceptualize technological artefacts as having moral profiles that consist of the values served and disserved along five levels of decision-making: (1) problem, (2) strategy, (3) resources, (4) product and (5) design. The notion of complex equality, directly stemming from the pluralist philosophy of Michael Walzer, can function as a heuristic principle to guide the identification and analysis of imbalances along these five levels. We provide an illustrative case study of the moral profile of artificial photosynthesis (AP), an emerging technology for renewable fuel production that promises to resolve our current dependence on fossil fuels. We conclude by providing future directions for the implementation of pluralist ideas in R&D policy and in societal discourse on emerging and incumbent technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102357
JournalTechnology in society
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Artificial photosynthesis
  • Complex equality
  • Pluralism
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable technologies

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