Alfred NordmannView all speakers
After receiving his Ph.D. in Hamburg (1986) and serving on the faculty of the Philosophy Department at the University of South Carolina (1988-2002), Alfred Nordmann became Professor of Philosophy and History of Science at Darmstadt Technical University.
His current focus is on the development of a comprehensive philosophy of technoscience that reflects recent changes in the culture of science and the changing relationship of science, technology, nature and society. Since 2000 Nordmann has been studying philosophical and societal dimensions of nanoscience and converging technologies, climate engineering and synthetic biology.
In order to address the question of “Responsible Innovation” we have to ask in which ways Synthetic Biology is innovative in the first place: Are we looking at ways to responsibly redesign the biosphere, to responsibly bioengineer particular organismic structures? Or is SynBio innovative in how it shapes a new generation of researchers or in its adoption of new design processes or methods for knowledge production? The notion of “responsible representation” foregrounds intellectual honesty regarding the values and commitments that inform the adoption of research methods and research goals. If SynBio is defined mostly by its “innovative mind-set”, what is the cultural meaning of this mind-set and what are the associated questions of responsibility towards science, history, society, and the next generation of researchers? Among the examples to be discussed: What is the meaning of and how can one take responsibility for the Feynman-maxim “What I cannot create, I do not understand”?