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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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9. Nano-Governance 2: Responsibility and legitimacy


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9.   Nano-Governance 2: Responsibility and legitimacy

Beside the heuristics of risk as the base of assessment procedures, the development of nano-domain extrapolates the major phenomenon of confluence between science, technology and politics. Confronted with this accelerated technoscientific development in the last decades two major problems are pivotal: 1) “how does society design and employ advances for a better tomorrow, while preserving what is highly valued by citizens today”, and 2) how far it is possible “to anticipate and guide change in order to design the future of our choice, not just one of our making”, i.e. an active design of future as the expression of tensions between “the human capability to advance technology”, and “to anticipate and plan for outcomes” (Roco and Bainbridge 2005: 1–2). These tensions characterize the innovations as well as the interactions between social and technological systems. In this manner in the presented in the last decade analyzes of nanotechnology are ‘actively’ anticipated possible advances in the future with the aim to prepare and contribute to the societal framework in which emerging technologies and their innovations shall be rooted. One of the most characteristic expressions of this anticipative attitude is the confluence of politics, science and technology, and in consequence the interrelation of the laboratories’ outputs and the designed science and research policy.112 This results from the necessity of the rational management of innovations involving manifold stakeholders (private and public, politics and industry, academia and business). Therefore ‘science’ and ‘technology’...

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