Instruments in science and technology


Boon, Mieke (2009) Instruments in science and technology. In: Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen & Stig Andur Pedersen & Vincent F. Hendricks (Eds.), A companion to the philosophy of technology. Blackwell companions to philosophy (43). Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 78-84. ISBN 9781405146012

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Abstract:Modern science and technology are interwoven into a complex that is sometimes called 'techno-science': the progress of science is dependent on the sophistication of instrumentation, whereas the progress of ‘high-tech’ instruments and apparatus is dependent on scientific research. Yet, how scientific research contributes to the development of instruments and apparatus for technological use, has not been systematically addressed in the philosophy of technology, nor in the philosophy of science. Philosophers of technology have taken an interest in the specific character of technological knowledge as distinct from scientific knowledge, thereby ignoring the contribution of scientific knowledge to technological developments. Philosophers of science such as the so-called New-Experimentalists, on the other hand, recently has become interested in the role of instrumentation, but merely focus on their role in testing scientific theories. By reviewing the two distinct developments and taking them a step further, an alternative explanation of the interwoveness of science and technology in scientific research is proposed. Additional to testing theories, instruments in scientific practice have an important role in producing reproducible phenomena, and these phenomena may have technological applications. Subsequently, technological development of these applications requires theoretical understanding of the phenomenon and of materials and physical conditions that produce it, is not for the sake of theories about the world, but for the sake of understanding a phenomenon and how it is technologically produced
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Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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