Discovering the Nanoscale

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Davis Baird, Alfred Nordmann, Joachim Schummer
IOS Press, 2004 - Technology & Engineering - 321 pages
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Science and engineering, industry and politics, environmentalists and transhumanists are Discovering the Nanoscale. Policy makers are demanding explicit consideration of ethical, legal and social aspects, and popular books are explaining the achievements and promises of nanoscience. It may therefore seem surprising that this is the first collection of studies that considers nanoscience and nanotechnologies from the critical perspective of Science and Technology Studies (STS). However, when one appreciates that such a critical perspective needs to be historically informed it often involves intimate acquaintance with the research process. Accordingly, this book on the historical, analytical, and ethical study of nanoscience and -technology has come together in a period of several years. Though it presents only first results, these results for the most part stem from sustained investigations of nanoscience and nanotechnologies and of the contexts that are shaping their development. Nanoscience and technologies are developing very quickly, and for this reason, both pose a challenge to the more reflective approach commonly taken by science studies, while at the same time requiring the perspective provided by science studies scholars. Many are convinced that nothing meaningful can be said about the social and ethical implications of nanotechnologies at this early stage, but one can already see what programmatic attitudes go into nanoscale research, what metaphors are shaping it, and what conception of nature is implicit in its vision. It is also often assumed that in order to consider all aspects of nanotechnologies it is sufficient to know a bit of the science and to have some ethical intuitions. This collection of papers establishes that one also needs to appreciate nanoscale research and development in the larger context of the changing relations of science, technology, and society.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Taking Stock
21
Working Through the Technological Reductionism
35
Staking Claims at the Nanoscale
51
Searching for Theories of the Nanoscale
77
Nanoscience and the JanusFaced Character of Simulations
93
How Probe Microscopists Became Nanotechnologists
119
Nanotechnology and the Negotiation of Novelty
135
Discursive Orders of Mediating Innovations
193
Dissolution of the NatureTechnology Dichotomy? Perspectives from an Everyday
209
Staging the Exploration of the Endless Frontier
231
Legal Perspectives on Issues of Democracy
247
Military Arms Control and Security Aspects of Nanotechnology
269
NanoEthics
285
Assessing the Nanoscale from an Ethical Point of View
301
Index of Names
317

Probing the History of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
145
Images in NanoScienceTechnology
165

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About the author (2004)

Davis Baird, Professor and Chair of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina, is author of "Inductive Logic: Inferring the Unknown "(1999) and coeditor of "Heinrich Hertz: Classical Physicist, Modern Philosopher "(1997).

Alfred Nordmann is Professor of Philosophy at Technische Universitat Darmstadt. He has translated and edited works by Wittgenstein and is president of the Lichtenberg Society.

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