Ethical Dimensions of Nanotechnology

Ethical Dimensions of Nanotechnology

Ethical Dimensions of Nanotechnology

This brief paper introduces the subject of Nanotechnology and its ethical implications as an applied technology. It goes on to explore and present a blueprint for the theological, legal and ethical issues which Muslim scholars may need to address, as well as a framework through which scholars can determine relevant solutions.

Nanotechnology comprises several fields where matter is viewed and manipulated at the extremely small scale of billionths of a meter. At this scale matter exhibits phenomena and properties that can be used for new applications. Nanotechnology has already made its way into common consumer products such as stain-free cloth, sunscreen, and computer chips. Unfortunately, nothing conclusive is known about the additional health and environmental risks of matter at such a small scale. Concern about these risks, and about how nanotechnology will be used and its impact on society have prompted several invitations for public discussions on the ethical dimensions of nanotechnology. Religious perspectives have been requested. Muslim scholars and opinion leaders have yet to respond.

This brief introduces the topic of nanotechnology and its ethical dimensions. It then presents a blueprint of the theological, legal, and ethical issues which Muslim scholars and opinion leaders may need to address, as well as a framework through which scholars can begin working out some of the answers.

November 2008

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