Andrew Maynard will speak on Thursday February 10, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm at The University of Michigan Department of Psychology Decision Consortium Seminar. The seminar will be held at 3048 East Hall.
We all know that there are consequences to asking some questions – “do you really think that’s a good idea?”, “did you turn off the stove?”, “is your partner sleeping with someone else?” Sometimes these consequences are good. Sometimes they are not. But in each case the mere act of asking a question can influence decisions that are made as a result – irrespective of whether the question is based in evidence. There are tacit rules within society concerning which questions – or doubts – are acceptable, and which are probably not. Asking someone whether they turned the stove off might be OK – asking them whether their partner is sleeping with someone else probably isn’t. But do these or similar rules apply in other areas? Take emerging technologies, for example, where the potential benefits and impacts can be highly uncertain. Some articulated doubts might prevent disasters from occurring; others might quash a potentially life-saving innovation. Once again, the possibility arises for decisions to be heavily influenced by doubts that are raised, irrespective of the evidence-base for these doubts. Which raises the question: do we need rules to guide which doubts are appropriate, and which are not, under such conditions? In other words, do we need an “ethics of doubt” to support the responsible development of emerging technologies?
FOE. (2007). Nanotechnology and sunscreens: A consumer guide for avoiding nano-sunscreens. Friends of the Earth.
Osmond, M. J. ,& McCall, M. J. (2010). Zinc oxide nanoparticles in modern sunscreens: An analysis of potential exposure and hazard. Nanotoxicology, 4, 15-41.[Introduction and conclusions are most pertinent]
For more information go to: http://www.sph.umich.edu/riskcenter/events.htm