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Book Chapter

Research and Use of Nuclear Energy — Its Ambivalence(s) in Historical Context


Kant,  Horst
Department Structural Changes in Systems of Knowledge, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Max Planck Society;

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Kant, H. (2022). Research and Use of Nuclear Energy — Its Ambivalence(s) in Historical Context. In H. Mieg (Ed.), The Responsibility of Science (pp. 107-139). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-91597-1_6.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-AEC2-7
The discovery of a scientific fact is initially not ambivalent; only in its possibilities of use does its ambivalence become apparent. But the socially evaluated positive uses and negative misuses of scientific knowledge cannot be clearly distinguished, and both can also appear ambivalent in turn. In this sense, consequently, scientists already bear responsibility for their discoveries. Moreover, in the case of experimental research, the question must be asked, to what extent its realization already interferes with what is happening and thus acquires an ambivalent character (which, however, must be distinguished from the ambivalence of its use). With those issues in mind, the article discusses the questions raised by the discovery and early use of nuclear energy.