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Heuristics of Technosciences

Philosophical Framing in the Case of Nanotechnology


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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10. Nano-Governance 3: Societal impacts and ethical issues


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10.  Nano-Governance 3: Societal impacts and ethical issues

The analyses of societal impacts and ethical dimension of the ‘nano’ complete the practical framework of the nano-domain by presenting decisive arguments in favor of the postulated heuristics of (nano) technosciences. The following analyses are focused on the controversies related with the nano-ethics and the philosophy of ‘nano’ which are extrapolated in the cases of human enhancement and synthetic biology. Even by the ethical nano-issues the heuristic turn with regard to the dominant nowadays ‘governance’ practice in the nano-domain seems to be pivotal, a governance practice, in which the equilibrium between political, societal and ethical dimensions of technosciences makes out the system of coordinates used in the discourse and the prevalent narratives presented in the concepts of science and technology studies as well as technology assessment and converging technologies.

10.1  Heuristic background of the nano-domain: Nano-ethics and nano-speculations

Nanotechnology, accompanied by the other converging technologies and the forthcoming of technological convergence itself such as in the case of human enhancement and synthetic biology, has prospectively the power to change the understanding of human nature and the relationship between nature, culture (society) and technology. In this context the established humanistic fields of nano-research in the last ten years are: the first projects of nanotechnology assessment confronted with the Collingridge dilemma, the multiplication of nano-ELSI studies, the constitution of nano-ethics and the controversies related with its speculativeness, the conception of converging technologies (the US...

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