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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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2. Modeling technology assessment


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2.   Modeling technology assessment

Beside ‘technoscience’ the other dominant conception in the ongoing research on science and technology is the theory and practice of technology assessment (TA). In the presented characteristics the objective of technoscience consists in the overlapping convergence of: 1) science and technology, 2) representing and intervening, 3) understanding and performing, 4) the natural and the artificial. Following to this, the philosophical theory of technoscience – including the concepts of ‘science’ and ‘technology’ – makes out the background of technology assessment itself. At the same time technoscience and technology assessment remain “familiar but slightly different” theoretical approaches in the contemporary research dealing with the interrelations and interdependences between science, technology, society and politics (Bińczyk and Stępień 2014: Preface). Nevertheless there can be observed that technology assessment and science and technology studies increasingly complete each other in the last time.

2.1   Public demands and the process of TA-institutionalization

The starting point by analyzing the approach represented by technology assessment is the changed meaning and significance of technology itself. Technology can be described as changing, dynamic and action-oriented ‘knowledge’ focusing on possibilities and capabilities of doing something driven by the categories such as effectiveness, utility and functionality. Moreover, technology is regarded as the driving-force of progress, as the source of human happiness, but also as the expression of utopic promises and the source of social conflicts, and finally in the most negative sense as the means of dehumanization. In the...

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