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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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8. Nano-Governance 1: Uncertainties, risks and precaution


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8.   Nano-Governance 1: Uncertainties, risks and precaution

By analyzing the practical framework of the nano-domain in form of governance processes the reference point consists of two models of risk assessment. The first one refers to the conception of general technology assessment applied in the case of nano-domain (nanotechnology assessment); the second model is derived from the concept of nano-driven technological convergence by the distinguished nano-products generations. The aim of the analyses is to integrate these two familiar approaches as the decisive part of the postulated heuristics of technosciences, especially in form of the heuristic of risk. At the same time the models of risk assessment base on the more general issues related with the safety, uncertainty and public attitude towards technological development and mass dissemination of technoscientific innovations and products. In the case of nano-domain the starting point hereby is the constitution of nano-toxicology with the initiated in the last decade research devoted to the interactions between nano-products and nano-treatments with the humans and the natural environment, then the dilemmas related with the use of precautionary principle in the governance practice. These two elements – nano-toxicology and precautionary principle – express the heuristics of risk and design the framework of nano-assessment and nano-risk governance practice.

8.1   Nano-safety and nano-toxicology

From the beginning of the accelerated development of the nano-domain is posed the question concerning the safe manufacturing, use and mass-dissemination of nano-products and nano-treatments. In this way the practical dimension of nano-domain...

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