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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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4. Technosciences: Towards ‘convergence’ and ‘assessment’

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4.   Technosciences: Towards ‘convergence’ and ‘assessment’

By comparing the predominant today theoretical conceptions of science and technology such as technoscience, technology assessment and technological convergence, two aspects shall be extrapolated with regard to the comprehensive heuristics of technosciences and by respecting methodological specificity occurring at the interfaces between technoscientific domains such as in the case of the nano-domain. First of all it is the systemic approach of the analyses encompassing both theoretical and practical frames of the changes in science and engineering; then, focusing on theoretical comparison, there appears a set of tensions and even convergences between these theoretical approaches devoted to the science and technology (engineering) relationship. At the same time the development and forthcoming of technosciences evolve inevitably towards ‘convergence’ between them from theoretical point of view with the occurring necessity of their ‘assessment’ in the practical dimension. Hereby one of the guiding ideas in the conception of converging technologies is the process of science unification in analogy to the principle of the unity of nature. Therefore the major issue is the overcoming the fragmentation of science and research and the overpassing the existing boundaries between particular disciplines by the modeling of an interdisciplinary approach basing among other on the metaphor of trading zones as expression of cooperative work at the interfaces between different scientific cultures and disciplines.

The background of the phenomenon of convergence in the contemporary science, technology and engineering is the elaborated technoscientific concept of laboratory and...

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