9Hermeneutic Assessment: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Program

The significance of assigning meaning to NEST for RRI debates has been demonstrated in the previous chapters with reference to paradigmatic cases. Some lessons learned will be summarized briefly (section 9.1). Building on these observations, the main objective of this chapter is to characterize a research program for hermeneutic assessment which could serve the needs for enlightenment identified. After some introductory remarks on hermeneutic approaches and methodologies (section 9.2), the largest part of the chapter is dedicated to developing perspectives for hermeneutical research on the processes of creation and communication of meaning assigned to NEST as well as on their consequences. These perspectives refer to the sciences and humanities to be involved as well as to appropriate methodologies. Finally (section 9.4), a look back to the five initial motivations to write this book (section 1.1) gives rise to a brief epilogue.

9.1. Assigning meaning to NEST as object of responsibility

The main message developed in this book is, according to my own assessment, the extension of the scope of responsibility in RRI debates on NEST developments. Complementing the familiar view that possible future consequences of NEST under consideration have to be made the object of responsibility, the analysis has shown that there are significant objects of responsibility further upstream: those assignments and attributions ...

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