The Hermeneutic Side of Responsible Research and Innovation

Volume 5 – Responsible Research and Innovation SET Coordinated by Bernard Reber

The Hermeneutic Side of Responsible Research and Innovation

Armin Grunwald, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

ISBN : 9781786300850

Publication Date : December 2016

Hardcover 234 pp

125 USD



Responsible research and innovation (RRI) has become an intensely debated concept for shaping future science, technology and innovation. This book is dedicated to the first steps of emerging RRI debates. Its main message is that the object of responsibility must be extended: beyond scrutinizing the responsibility for possible consequences of new science and technology in a more distant future. It is highly relevant to carefully observe the assignment of meaning to new science and technology in early stages of their development. Meaning is attributed by relating new science and technology to social and usually techno-visionary futures as well as by definitions and characterizations of those new fields.

The aims of this book are to uncover these processes of assigning meaning, to put them in the context of responsibility and to sketch a hermeneutic and interdisciplinary research program for achieving a better understanding. The message of this book is illustrated by case studies on nanotechnology, robotics, enhancement, and climate engineering.


1. What Makes New Science and Technology Meaningful to Society?
2. Extending the Object of Responsibility Assessments in RRI.
3. Assessing Responsibility by Considering Techno-Futures.
4. Definitions and Characterizations of NEST as Construction of Meaning.
5. Understanding Nanotechnology: A Process Involving Contested Assignments of Meaning.
6. Robots: Challenge to the Self-Understanding of Humans.
7. Enhancement as a Cipher of the Future.
8. Technology to Combat Climate Change: the Hermeneutic Dimension of Climate Engineering.
9. Hermeneutic Assessment: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Program.

About the authors/editors

Armin Grunwald is Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Technology at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, Head of the Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at KIT, Head of the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Parliament (TAB).