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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Taking Stock
Working Through the Technological Reductionism
Staking Claims at the Nanoscale
Searching for Theories of the Nanoscale
Nanoscience and the JanusFaced Character of Simulations
How Probe Microscopists Became Nanotechnologists
Nanotechnology and the Negotiation of Novelty
Discursive Orders of Mediating Innovations
Dissolution of the NatureTechnology Dichotomy? Perspectives from an Everyday
Staging the Exploration of the Endless Frontier
Legal Perspectives on Issues of Democracy
Military Arms Control and Security Aspects of Nanotechnology
Assessing the Nanoscale from an Ethical Point of View
Index of Names

Probing the History of Scanning Tunneling Microscopy
Images in NanoScienceTechnology

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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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