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Responsibility and Freedom by Robert Gianni

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Introduction

L’ethique […] demeure problématique, c’est-à-dire fait problème qui donne à penser.

(Ethics […] remains problematic, i.e. a problem which needs to be thought about)

Kostas Axelos

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is a notion that can represent a great opportunity for the future of Europe, because it is meant to merge technical and economic imperatives with societal needs and desires. The aim is to generate not only an institutional framework, but also a proliferation of regulated practices to increment European well-being. However, it is still unclear how to understand this task given the multiple conceptual perspectives and several practical obstacles that such a wide notion implies.

If, on the one hand, responsibility is an ambiguous term, paving the way to different and sometimes conflicting interpretations, on the other hand, research and innovation appear to be imperatives that could be committed only to technical regulations and need as much freedom as possible. Accordingly, RRI appears as a container embedding conflicting perspectives for which the solution is at least puzzling.

If it is difficult to provide an objective and shared understanding of what RRI should be, its prescriptive side. It is possible, however, to describe RRI as the tool through which the political rationality of our time is exemplified and developed, and therefore what it is supposed to be.

However, this last statement is also far from being clear in its features.

At the heart ...

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