Justice or Beneficence: What Regulatory Virtue for Nano-Governance?
With nanotechnology we are not only moving into a new technological world but into ‘a new legal, ethical, economic, social, cultural and political one too’. The article examines the questions of value preference in this transition to the new technological world and proposes to employ the moral concept of beneficence as a regulatory virtue for the governance of nanotechnology. Setting up the concept of beneficence against the concept of justice, the article argues that beneficence, instead of the relatively inferior virtue of justice, is the appropriate regulatory virtue for the governance of nanotechnology. It proposes the ‘beneficent regulation of nanotechnology’ which will be distinctive for its direct engagement with substantive and normative values as distinguished from previous proposals of regulation which were largely short on substantive values.