Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
PYRRHO, Monique and SCHRAMM, Fermin Roland. The morality of nanotechnology . Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2012, vol.28, n.11, pp.2023-2033. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2012001100002.
Nanotechnology is a set of knowledge, techniques, and practices in studying and exploring new properties of materials that arise when manipulated at the atomic and molecular levels. The technical possibility of organizing and controlling matter at the smallest dimensions and units can result in profound changes in industrial production processes and have significant moral impacts on human relations, organization of the current social order, and even life as a phenomenon. However, moral reflection on nanotechnology has been criticized over the assertion that nanotechnology fails to raise any new ethical issue, for example. The current article discusses the limits of this claim by presenting two aspects that distinguish between nanotechnology and earlier biotechnoscientific advances in terms of their ethical implications: (a) uncertainty as an epistemic characteristic and (b) the threat to the current symbolic character of DNA as the "code of life".
Keywords : Nanotechnology; Bioethics; Nanostructures; DNA.