Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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9780028659916: Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
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*Starred Review* The timing could hardly be better for this set. With the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes renewing concern regarding ecology, plus the ongoing debates on stem cell research, global warming, and a myriad of other science-related topics in the news, Macmillan's latest multivolume work on ethics provides a superb introduction to the issues presented.

Suggested by an editor of the third edition of the same publisher's Encyclopedia of Bioethics (2003), Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics "aims to summarize . . . emerging bodies of knowledge bearing on the co-construction of an ethical, scientific, and technological world." Editor Mitcham (Colorado School of Mines) and around 470 academic contributors have written more than 675 articles on topics that relate to every conceivable area of ethics in science and technology--and beyond.

The rather eclectic mixture of entries may cause library patrons to overlook some topics in this work entirely, given its title. While one expects articles such as Biological weapons; Ecological integrity; Ford Pinto case; Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Oppenheimer, J. Robert; and Social Darwinism, the average reader may not expect to find entries like Consumerism; Jefferson, Thomas; Market theory; Music; or Special effects. The authors, however, are adept at introducing an ethical dimension within their entries. They were also encouraged to let their own views be heard.

The set opens with eight introductory essays that provide an overview of key interdisciplinary ideas. The encyclopedia portion includes about 125 biographical entries in addition to topical entries. All conclude with cross-references and up-to-date bibliographies--many with separately listed Internet resources. About 300 black-and- white illustrations and photographs are scattered throughout the set. Single entries are up to eight pages long (Science, technology and literature), though some main entries are subdivided into separate articles that span a greater number of pages, such as Misconduct in science, which has four separate articles. The work concludes with several appendixes: an annotated bibliography, Internet resources, a glossary, a chronology, and reprints of various ethics codes and documents from around the world.

A few editorial oversights were spotted. The list of articles at the beginning of volume 1 notes an entry for New technologies. There is no such entry. There are a few instances of a missing cross-reference at the end of an entry. Even so, this work is a refreshing synthesis of issues spanning more disciplines that the title would at first indicate. Many will debate the inclusion or exclusion of topics, but for public and academic libraries looking for an authoritative reference source on a variety of topics related to the moral dimensions of science and technology and written at a reading level for the educated layperson, this is a highly recommended set. Ken Black
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