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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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6. Nano-methodology and epistemic dilemmas


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6.   Nano-methodology and epistemic dilemmas

With regard to the dilemmas related with the definition of nanotechnology by referring to the measure’s units and the understanding of the nano-domain as enabling and infrastructure technology inevitably is posed the problem of nano-methodology. From theoretical point of view the nano-domain (as a field of science and engineering) can be characterized twofold, as a socio-political construct situated in-between of nature and technology from the one hand, and as a domain in the state of transition from ‘science’ to ‘technoscience’ which results from the systemic characteristics encircling the general interdisciplinary orientation expressed by the model of trading zones as its genuine and proper field of research from the other hand. In this context one of the major questions by the envisaged heuristics of technosciences concerns the methodical specificity in the case of nanotechnology. In the following analyses this specificity is extrapolated threefold, according to the assumed principle of methodical order as the base of the ‘epistemology’ of nano-innovation and nano-research practice, then by referring to the nano-apparatus’ development, and finally by the distinguished two basic nano-approaches: the top-down and the bottom-up. In this manner are presented methodical coordinates of nano-heuristics from the point of view of science and engineering which can be analogously used in the heuristics of technosciences, that the principle of methodical order, the developed and used research apparatus and the elaborated methodical approaches design the research practice of the particular technosciences and the convergence between them....

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