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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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3. Combining converging technologies

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3.   Combining converging technologies

By shaping the heuristics of technosciences, besides the conceptions of technoscience and technology assessment, in the last decade is presented the third one – the concept of converging technologies or technological convergence between nano-bio-info technologies and cognitive science (the NBIC-convergence) – which appears as a pivotal element especially with regard to the ongoing research driven by the nano-domain. Moreover, the concept of technological convergence is situated in the context of the changing policy of science and research in the US and Europe, where the new modes of knowledge production and public funding basing on cooperation between the state, industry and academia are elaborated. In consequence the military-industrial complex established after Second World War is replaced by a new one – the academic-industrial-governmental complex of the post-academic science (Bucchi 2004: 134), or the so called ‘triple helix’ of university, industry and government (Etzkowitz and Leydesdorff 2000), accompanied by the process of science commercialization (Krimsky 2003). In this vein the technoscience understood as the process of intervening, manipulating, constructing or creating makes out the base of NBIC-convergence which can be regarded as a technoscientific program of engineering, and in which the nano-domain as the major field of technological convergence presents the best example characterizing the ongoing changes.

3.1   The political background of the NBIC-convergence

These new changes in understanding and making of science are initiated in the 1990s in the US science and research policy recognizing the nano-domain (encircling both nano-science...

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