Technology, Ethics and the Environment: A Roundtable Discussion

By Andre Maintenay.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Building on established scholarship which examines the relationship between technology and ethics, between ethics and the environment, and between technology and the environment, this roundtable proposes a triangulation of these fields. While some modern technologies were developed without considering their environmental implications, more recent developments are engineered specifically with waste reduction, environmental clean-up, sustainability, or biomimicry in mind. Yet some of these endeavours, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology, represent qualitatively different ways of thinking about and engineering the world. While they may have environmental interests at heart, there are still contentious issues to face. What are the ethical implications of intervening in and manipulating “natural” processes and systems, of transforming them at their most fundamental level? Is this transformation of nature justifiable if one’s technological means adhere to natural models, or if it is done in a spirit of stewardship? Or is there something intrinsically valuable about wilderness and in respecting an inherent order in the environment?

This roundtable will discuss the paradoxes of 21st-century environmental and technological citizenship and will be guided by four humanities doctoral students engaged in research on environmental and technological ethics. The presenters include: Andre Maintenay (University of Toronto), "The Ethics of Technological Language"; Janna Rosales (University of Toronto), "Transhumanism, Nanotechnology, and the Environment"; Craig Perfect (McMaster University), "Retrieving Cosmologies: A New Direction for Technological Ethics"; and Andrew Muncaster (McMaster University), "Technology and the Possibility of the Good." The discussion will be Chaired by Rebekka King (University of Toronto).

Keywords: Ethics, Environment

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 2, Issue 7, pp.69-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.031MB).

Andre Maintenay

Ph.D. candidate, Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I am currently finishing work on my Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Toronto in the area of Religion, Technology, and Environmental Ethics. My thesis is on the connection between environmental ethics and religion/spirituality in the context of neo-liberal, technological society.

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