Pervasive Normativity and Emerging Technologies

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

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    Normativity is everywhere. It is taken up in ethics, but also in law and political theory, and more implicitly in economics and sociology. And there is the de facto normativity of master narratives and imaginaries, like the modernist narrative of progress—in particular progress through science. There is also, underlying many normative issues, the fundamental challenge (die ärgerliche Tatsache) of social order, as a value in its own right, and thus to be conserved, and/or as a constraint that needs to be opened up. This essential ambivalence of social order feeds into the discourse about innovation, which can be embraced as wonderful, or criticised as deviant and possibly dangerous (cf. Godin 2010). Issues thrown up by emerging technologies partake in this fundamental challenge, and are thus broader (and deeper) than questions of risk and other immediate effects on society. This is the first level of pervasiveness of normativity. One implication is that the achievements of ethics, ‘the rich and diverse work of the past 2,500 years of moral philosophy’ (Baggini and Fosl 2007: p. xvi), while considerable and to be built upon, cover only part of the articulations of normativity, in spite of the claim of ethicists that normativity is their special domain. I will discuss other articulations of normativity as in law, governance and sociology, and also consider ‘sites’ where pervasive normativity is visible. My own experience with constructive technology assessment (CTA) will be one such ‘site’
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEthics on the Laboratory Floor
    EditorsSimone van der Burg, Tsjalling Swierstra
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Electronic)978-1-137-00293-8
    ISBN (Print)978-1-349-43407-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Political theory
    • Moral luck
    • Responsible research and innovation
    • Moral labour


    Dive into the research topics of 'Pervasive Normativity and Emerging Technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this