We first discuss three broad approaches to (social) learning (autonomous technology, communicative rationality and constructivism) and argue in favour of a constructivist approach to controversial technological topics. A historical account of the nuclear controversy in Belgium paints a picture of difficult relationships, unstructured debates and strained learning opportunities. This is explained by the dynamics of polarisation, the ‘social constitution’ of nuclear power and the role of governance authorities. In a concluding section of this paper we propose (in a programmatic way) some innovations which might be helpful in order to avoid reproducing the antagonistic dynamics of the past. Accepting the principle of ‘sustainable development’ as a ‘thick and vague theory of the good’ guiding future energy policy might help in reframing the (nuclear) energy debate in new and unaccustomed terms. We argue in favour of the creation of specific loci where the implications of this principle can be discussed. In any case history will matter, as actors in the nuclear debate tend to frame their expectations regarding possible future developments in light of experienced trajectories of past claims and promises.
|Journal||Ethiek en Maatschappij|
|State||Published - Jun 2006|