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Participatory technology assessment of xenotransplantation : experimenting with the Neo-Socratic Dialogue ; Austrian experiences

Partizipative Technikfolgenabschätzung der Xenotransplantation : experimentieren mit dem Neosokratischen Dialog ; österreichische Erfahrungen
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Griessler, Erich; Littig, Beate

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Abstract Like many developments in modern science and technology (Bonß 1995) xeno- or animal to human transplantation involves enormous potentials as well as high risks and serious ethical problems (e.g. OECD 1997, Hüsing 1998 et al. Schicktanz 2002). Such ethical problems are a major challenge to political decision-making mechanisms: how can they be appropriately and legitimately discussed and resolved? Are the usual democratic institutions adequate and is it sufficient to include only (bioethics)-experts in decision-making? Or do we need broader debates on ethics, involving also other actors as well as civil society. However, if a broad public discussion is necessary, how can we debate and resolve these questions, and which decision-making procedures can we use? This article presents first results of the Austrian part of an ongoing EU research project, which experiments with the Neo-Socratic Dialogue, (in the following NSD), a method for resolving ethical questions primarily used in teaching and consultancy, as a means of discussing ethical problems of xenotransplantation with the respective stakeholders. In this discussion paper we will first sketch several ethical problems of xenotransplantation. Drawing on Marteen Hajer (2003), we will then distinguish several aspects of "institutional void" in the Austrian xenotransplantation "debate". In the next part we will outline the concept of NSD and we will describe the Austrian experiment to discuss ethical problems of xenotransplantation using the instrument of NSD. In the subsequent part we will present first evaluation results of this experiment and in the last part we will draw preliminary conclusions from our experiment.
Keywords Austria; technology assessment; sociology of technology; morality; ethics; medical technology; participation; discourse
Classification Sociology of Science, Sociology of Technology, Research on Science and Technology; Technology Assessment
Method empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2003
Page/Pages p. 56-67
Journal Practical Philosophy, 6 (2003) 2
Status Postprint; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works