Three decades after Habermas, Apel and Cortina founded the basis of discourse ethics, its principles are still not widely followed in science and technology. Indeed, Agazzi, Barnes and others have upholded that “science is morally neutral”. However, according to the discourse ethics, a decision is fair only if all the people potentially affected by the decision are considered. This approach is consistent with the post-conventional level established in the “stages of moral development theory” by Kohlberg. If scientific actions are to be based on this principle, science and technology would not (and should not) be ethically neutral. However, as we will show in this report, this moral code is generally not guiding the decisions and strategies in many technological and scientific companies. Coltan, an essential mineral for massively used electronic devices, has led to an internal war in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that has caused millions of deaths and serious abuses against human rights for many years. Recently, resolutions have been approved (UN-2010, European Parliament-2015) that establish transparency requirements for companies importing resources from the DRC. However, according to a recent Amnesty International report, many companies do not adequately monitor or disclose whether their products contain minerals from conflict zones in Central Africa. The WHO estimates that 90% of the world’s health research targets diseases that involve 10% of patients. The system of innovation and access to drugs responds to a broken model in which commercial interests prevail. Thus, the price of medicines and the shortage of incentives to research in neglected diseases mean that most illnesses affecting poor patients lack appropriate treatments. Because these examples show that science is not always geared by discourse ethics, members of the scientific community should strive to build a science for all human beings and to adopt transparency and democratization.
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