Cognitive Barriers in Perception of Nanotechnology
Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 2006 Winter; 34(4): 689-694
This article is concerned with predictions of future events, such as technological achievements and changes in the human condition that they will bring about. Cognitive barriers arise when human agents are either asked or forced to make judgments and decisions with respect to unknown singular events. This article argues that barriers such as an aversion to not knowing and the impossibility to believe trump expert and ordinary human reasoning. These barriers apply to nanotechnology. To avoid undesired societal effects arising from them, this essay proposes a set of steps designed to foster responsible public dialogue.
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