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Heuristics of Technosciences

Philosophical Framing in the Case of Nanotechnology

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Tomasz Stępień

Confronted with the accelerated development of science and technology the presented analyses are focusing on three predominant theoretical approaches in the philosophy of science and technology: technoscience (STS), technology assessment (TA) and converging technologies (NBIC). On this base are extrapolated the coordinates of the heuristics of technosciences which are recognized as the platform of understanding but also dealing with technoscientific innovations. This concerns especially nanotechnology and the emerging theoretical, methodological, ethical, socio-political controversies and dilemmas. In this manner the book epitomizes the elaborated to date approaches and designs the heuristic turn as the strategy of comprehensive understanding of technosciences.
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1. Constructing technosciences

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1.   Constructing technosciences

By philosophical approaching the heuristics of technosciences, the theoretical concept of science and technology encircling epistemic as well as practical aspects seems to be pivotal. In this context the development of science and technology in the last decades can be regarded as the process of constructing technosciences or rather as a permanently renewing process of shaping the research practice. Hereby the aim of the presented analyses is not a comprehensive historical overview of this process, but to pick out these theoretical factors and motifs which are crucial by the establishment of nano-domain, and to extrapolate the basic coordinates of the heuristics of technosciences. In this manner the presented analyses are zooming on nanotechnology as the example of technoscience in form of nano-technoscience.

Beginning with the meaning of the terms ‘science’ and ‘technoscience’ is presented the new understanding of science and research practice embedded in socio-political, economic and cultural background. On this base are presented the ponderabilities and dilemmas characterizing technoscientific research and determining the theoretical framework of research in the context of ‘post-academic’ or ‘entrepreneurial’ science representatively expressed by the so called mode-2 of (scientific) knowledge production. At the same time the theoretical concept of technoscience gives us the framework of technology assessment and decisively contributes to the phenomenon of technological or even technoscientific convergence.

1.1   The meaning of the terms: ‘science’ and ‘technoscience’

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