Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology

Academic journal article Journal of Information Ethics

Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of Ethics in Science and Technology Nigel Barber. New York: Facts on File, 2002. 386 pp. $60.

At least three massive encyclopedic overviews of ethics exist and specialized works, such as the Encyclopedia of Bioethics, o∂er extremely detailed essays on some pertinent subjects, but very few reference tools deal exclusively with ethics in relation to science and/or technology. Thus, this fairly comprehensive, large volume fills a lacuna, especially since it is accessible and useful to both unsophisticated high school and advanced college students as well as researchers. It covers a broad array of ideas, concepts and personages-from Galileo to food irradiation-in succinct or more detailed entries. A reader might wonder why "junk e-mail" is included and biometrics is not, but an author must make choices, and the major goal here was to produce a reasonably priced, single volume reference tool. Thus, some things had to be excluded. It is disheartening to discover that well-meaning reviewers come to a title with a host of a priori ideological baggage (abortion, contraception) and use the opportunity to comment and criticize because whatever it is they are interested in is slighted and other things that they may not even comprehend are criticized. Reviewers mention, for example, the Hubble telescope and wonder why it is included here. Had they bothered to read the short entry they would have noted that Barber clearly states, "...its faulty engineering has received a great deal of criticism as an unethical waste of public funds. …

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