Science, Technology And Society: A Philosophical Perspective

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Science, Technology and Society:A Philosophical PerspectiveWenceslao J. Gonzalez (Editor)

General EditorWenceslao J. GonzalezSCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY: A PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVECopyright 2005 by Netbiblo.Copyright by Wenceslao J. Gonzalez.ISBN: 0-9729892-2-6Editor: Cristina SecoPrinted and bound by Gesbiblo, S.L.This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regardto the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that neither the author northe publisher is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, futures/securities trading, or otherprofessional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services ofcompetent professional personnel should be sought.Front cover: Gesbiblo, S.L.First Published 2005 by Netbiblo, S.L.

CONTENTSContributors .vPreface: The Relevance of Science, Technology and Society: The “Social Turn”Wenceslao J. Gonzalez.ixPART I: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK1. The Philosophical Approach to Science, Technology and SocietyWenceslao J. Gonzalez .32. Objectivity and Professional Duties Regarding Science and TechnologyKristin Shrader-Frechette .51PART II: STS: FROM THE PRESENT SITUATION TO THE FUTURE PROJECTION3. Metascientific Analysis and Methodological Learning in Regulatory Science.On the Relationship between Analysis of Science and Scientific PracticeJosé Luis Luján.834. How to Reform Science and TechnologyKristin Shrader-Frechette .107PART III: THE RELATION BETWEEN SCIENCE AND SOCIETY5. Progress and Social Impact in Design SciencesAnna Estany Profitos .1356. Experiments, Instruments and Society: Radioisotopes in Biomedical ResearchMaría Jesús Santesmases .159PART IV: THE NEXUS BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY7. Philosophical Patterns of Rationality and Technological ChangeRamón Queraltó Moreno .179Subject Index .207Index of Names .211iii

ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORSTO THIS VOLUMEWenceslao J. Gonzalez is professor of logic and philosophy of science at theUniversity of A Coruña (Spain). He has been vicedean of the School of Humanitiesand president of the Committee of Doctoral Programs at the University. Hehas been a visiting researcher at the Universities of St. Andrews, Münster andLondon (London School of Economics), as well as Visiting fellow at the Centerfor Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh. He has given lectures at theUniversities of Pittsburgh, Stanford, Quebec and Helsinki. The conferences inwhich he has participated include those organized by the Universities of Uppsala,New South Wales, Bologne and Canterbury (New Zealand).He has edited 20 volumes and published 70 papers. He is the editor of themonographic issues on Philosophy and Methodology of Economics (1998) andLakatos’s Philosophy Today (2001). His writings include “Economic Predictionand Human Activity. An Analysis of Prediction in Economics from ActionTheory” (1994), “On the Theoretical Basis of Prediction in Economics” (1996),“Rationality in Economics and Scientific Predictions: A Critical Reconstructionof Bounded Rationality and its Role in Economic Predictions” (1997), “Lakatos’sApproach on Prediction and Novel Facts” (2001), “Rationality in ExperimentalEconomics: An Analysis of R. Selten’s Approach” (2003), “From ErklärenVerstehen to Prediction-Understanding: The Methodological Framework inEconomics (2003), and “The Many Faces of Popper’s Methodological Approachto Prediction” (2004).Kristin Shrader-Frechette is professor at the University of Notre Dame,Indiana. She works at the Department of Philosophy as well as at the Departmentof Biological Sciences. She is currently president of the International Society forEnvironmental Ethics (ISEE). Previously, she has been president of two societiesin the US: the Society for Philosophy and Technology and the Risk Assessmentand Policy Association. She is author of more than 340 papers in this field ofScience, Technology and Society. In addition, she has published 14 books relatedto STS.Many of her books deal with ethical issues related to technological risk and theirenvironmental consequences: Nuclear Power and Public Policy (1980); SciencePolicy, Ethics, and Economic Methodology (1984); Risk and Rationality (1991);Ethics of Scientific Research (1994); Technology and Human Values (1997); Her works have been translated into Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German,Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Russian, and Spanish. She is widely indemand as a lecturer by universities, governments, and industrial groups as wellas National Academies of Science. She has been invited to prestigious colloquiasuch as the Boston Colloquium for the Philosophy of Science or the Pittsburghv

viScience, Technology and Society: A Philosophical PerspectiveColloquium for the Philosophy of Science. Currently she is working on a volumeon Public Ethics: Citizenship and Duties of Advocacy.José Luis Luján is senior lecturer [titular professor] of logic and philosophyof science at the University of the Balearic Islands. He has participated asa researcher in several European research projects and currently is leadingscientist of a research project of the Spanish Ministry of Education and Scienceon regulatory science and technological risks. He has coauthored books suchas El artefacto de la inteligencia (1989); Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad: Unaintroducción al estudio social de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (1996); La imagensocial de las nuevas Tecnologías biológicas (1997); Violence: From Biologyto Society (1997); and Ciencia y Política del riesgo (2000). He is coeditor ofCiencia, Tecnología y Sociedad: Lecturas seleccionadas (1997), Filosofía de laTecnología (1998), and Gobernar los riesgos: Ciencia y valores en la sociedaddel riesgo (2004).Anna Estany Profitos is professor of logic and philosophy of science at theAutonomous University of Barcelona and head of the Department of Philosophy.She was awarded a Master of Arts by the University of Indiana and has researchedat the University of California at San Diego. Among her books are Modelos decambio científico (1990), Introducción a la Filosofía de la Ciencia (1993), Manualde prácticas de Filosofía de la Ciencia (2000), La fascinación por el saber (2001)and ¿Eureka? El trasfondo de un descubrimiento sobre el cáncer y la GenéticaMolecular (2003). She is the author of papers such as “Reconstrucción de casoshistóricos a partir del modelo de progreso científico de L. Laudan” (1998),“Thomas Kuhn: Hacia una metateoría unificada de la Ciencia” (1998), “Ventajasepistémicas de la cognición socialmente distribuida” (2001) and “The Theoryladen Thesis of Observation in the Light of Cognitive Psychology” (2001).María Jesús Santesmases is senior scientist [titular researcher] at the HigherCouncil of Scientific Research (CSIC) in Madrid. She has edited the monographicissues of Arbor on Orígenes de la Biología Molecular: Contextos internacionalesy tradiciones locales (1997) and Ciencia y Tecnología en el CSIC: Una visión degénero (2002). Among her books are Establecimiento de la Bioquímica y la BiologíaMolecular en España (1997); Antibióticos en la autarquía (1999); Científicas enEspaña (1940-1970): Profesionalización y modernización social (2000); and EntreCajal y Ochoa (2001). She has published in the following journals: Isis, Studiesin History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, History andPhilosophy of Life Sciences, Theoria, Social Studies of Science, and Minerva.Ramón Queraltó Moreno is professor of philosophy at the University ofSeville. His realm of research is present tendencies in thought and especiallyphilosophy of technology. He is a correspondent member of the AcadémieInternationale de Philosophie des Sciences and the editor of the journalArgumentos de Razón técnica. He is head of a research group on “Science,Technology and Society” of the High Council of Scientific Research (CSIC). He

About the Contributors to this Volumeis the author of eight books, among them are Mundo, Tecnología y Razón en elfin de la Modernidad (1993), K. Popper, de la Epistemología a la Metafísica(1996), Razionalità tecnica e mondo futuro. Una eredità per il terzo millennio(2002), and Ética, Tecnología y Valores en la sociedad global (2003). He haspublished widely. Among his papers are “Does Technology ‘Construct’ ScientificReality?” (1993), “Hypothèse, objectivité, et rationalité technique” (1996), “SinceIndeterminacy: The New Picture of the Physical World at the End of Modernity”(1997), “Technology as a New Condition of the Possibility of Scientific Knowledge”(1998), “Scientific Realism, Objectivity and Technological Realism” (2000), and“Science as Technoscience: Values and Their Measurement” (2004).vii

THE R ELEVANCE OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGYAND SOCIETY: THE “SOCIAL TURN”Wenceslao J. GonzalezThe emphasis on the realm of Science, Technology and Society or Science andTechnology Studies may have the same degree of relevance that the “historicalturn” had in the past. It is a “social turn” which affects philosophy of science aswell as philosophy of technology. It includes a new vision of the aims, processesand results of scientific activities and technological doings, because the focusof attention is on several aspects of science and technology which used to beconsidered as secondary, or even irrelevant. This turn highlights science andtechnology as social undertakings rather than intellectual contents.According to this new vision, there are several important changes as to whatshould be studied –the objects of research–, how it should be studied –the method–and what the consequences for those studies are. The new focus of attention canbe seen in many changes, and among them are several of special interest: a) fromwhat science and technology are in themselves (mainly, epistemic contents) tohow science and technology are made (largely, social constructions); b) from thelanguage and structure of basic science to the characteristics of applied scienceand the applications of science; c) from technology as a feature through whichhuman beings control their natural surroundings (a step beyond “technics” due tothe contribution of science) to technology as a social practice and an instrumentof power; and d) from the role of internal values necessary for “mature science”and “innovative technology” to the role of contextual or external values (cultural,political, economic ) of science and technology.This “social turn” is a move that covers a larger area and introduces amore radical scope than the preceding “historical turn”, which was developedpredominantly in the sixties and the seventies. On the one hand, STS enlargesthe domain in comparison with the contributions made by Thomas Kuhn,Imre Lakatos, Larry Laudan The role of historicity as a crucial elementfor the philosophical approach was analyzed mostly in the case of science. Defacto, the major philosophers of that period paid little attention to technology.Furthermore, technology was customarily seen by them as an instrument thatscience uses for observation or experimentation. On the other hand, STS bringswith it a more radical scope than the “historical turn,” because that conception–including The Structure of Scientific Revolutions– still assumes that theinternal contents of science have more weight than the external factors (social,cultural, political, economic ).In addition, there is a further enlargement introduced by the “social turn” incomparison with the “historical turn.” STS considers the contributions of severaldisciplines, among them practical ethics, policy analysis, legal studies, sociologyix

xScience, Technology and Society: A Philosophical Perspectiveof science and sociology of technology, economics of science and economics oftechnology Thus, the “social turn” includes more scientific contributions thanhistory of science and history of technology. But the main interest is not in theintellectual history, either of science (e.g., of scientific theories) or of technology(e.g., on the changes in the know how), but rather in contextual elements of thediscoveries or improvements of science or technology (the search for fame, powerrelations, institutional traditions ).Within the realm of Science, Technology and Society or Science andTechnology Studies, this book focuses on the philosophical perspective. It attendsto philosophy of science as well as to philosophy of technology. Thus, the papersanalyze the sphere of scientific activity and the circle of technological doings,which includes the scientific-technological area of “technoscience.” The volumetakes the philosophical approach as complementary to the empirical studies onscience and technology. From this angle, the analysis considers some aspects ofthe “social turn” and, as is usual in philosophy, it includes the component ofcritical attitude.It is a book which belongs to Gallaecia. Studies on the Present Philosophy andMethodology of Science. This collection, published since 1997, seeks to analyzedifferent issues of science and technology from a philosophical perspective. Twoof the previous volumes are related to the topics of this book: Scientific Progressand Technological Innovation (1997) and Science and Ethical Values (1998).In addition, some relevant philosophers of science have also received attentionin monographic publications: Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Imre Lakatos andLarry Laudan. All the volumes are coordinated from the University of A Coruña(Spain) and until now they have been published in Spanish. The collection seeksto increase its presence in the international forum of ideas. This is the main reasonfor publishing this new book of Gallaecia in English.Ferrol, 19 October 2004Wenceslao J. GonzalezProfessor of Logic and Philosophy of Science

ITheoretical Framework1. The Philosophical Approach to Science, Technology and Society2. Objectivity and Professional Duties Regarding Science and Technology

THE PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH TO SCIENCE,TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETYWenceslao J. Gonzalez1There is nowadays, through the “social turn” in philosophy of science andphilosophy of technology, a new panorama in the philosophical approach to scienceand technology. For several decades, the previous ideas on scientific findings andtechnological contributions were frequently thought of as context-independent(mainly, as epistemic contents and instruments to control our surroundings),whereas the new vision presents a different picture where contextual values(cultural, political, economic, ecological ) have a central role in science andtechnology. Moreover, the landscape is now an interdisciplinary endeavor wherethe empirical studies on science and technology commonly accompany thephilosophical reflections on scientific activity and technological doing.Many features can be considered regarding this philosophical approach toscience, technology and society connected to the “social turn.” Looking forwardto what this issue is and ought to be, the analysis will follow several steps: 1)to characterize the interdisciplinary endeavor on science and technology focuson the social setting; 2) to clarify the notions of “technoscience,” “science” and“technology” because they –in one way or another– underlie all the discussions;3) to make explicit the variations in the philosophical approach, which has movedfrom the “internal” constituents to the “external” factors both in philosophyof science and in philosophy of technology; 4) to specify the relation betweenscience and society from a philosophical perspective, which includes the socialdimension of science as well as the relevance of practice; and 5) to elucidatethe nexus between technology and society from a philosophical approach, whichrequires us to take into account the social dimension of technology and the role ofeconomic values in technology. Thereafter, there is a presentation of the structureand origin of this book and a posterior bibliography to complete the inquiry.1. AN INTERDISCIPLINARY ENDEAVORScience, Technology and Society or Science and Technology Studies are twoways of referring to an interdisciplinary endeavor. STS combines the contributionsof several disciplines and, accordingly, it uses different methodologies. Its objectis not an isolated realm analyzed by a traditional kind of research, because itdepends on views on science and technology developed in the last four decades.1I am grateful to Kristin Shrader-Frechette for her comments on this paper.3

4Science, Technology and Society: A Philosophical PerspectiveIndeed, STS has received increasing attention since the mid-1980’,2 when thediscussion included explicitly a third term: “technoscience.” It is also a periodwhere philosophy of technology increased progressively its presence in therealm of STS,3 connecting technology with new areas for philosophical research(issues related to bioethics, environmental concerns, social problems, policydiscussions ).4Since the constitution of STS, both philosophy of science and philosophy oftechnology have had a key role in this contemporary field. Their contributionsare interconnected with contents of other disciplines. De facto, STS is a broadintellectual enterprise where several disciplines are involved: practical ethics,policy analysis, law, sociology, economics The reason for this wide variety ofcontributions is clear: STS cannot be reduced to the theoretical study of scienceand technology, because it includes also a practical dimension as well as a socialconcern. In Europe the first aspect is still dominant, whereas in the United Statesthe second facet has a central relevance.Both names –Science, Technology and Society and Science and TechnologyStudies– are commonly used for the same subject matter. The sense of theseexpressions includes the assumption of science and technology as human activitiesin a social setting rather than two forms of mere knowledge. And the specificreference of these expressions goes beyond the intellectual outcomes or productsof science and technology: it looks for those concrete components of science andtechnology which have repercussions in social life in different dimensions (ethical,political, sociological, economic ) Therefore, STS pays special attention to theempirical ingredients of both researches –scientific and technological–: it seekstheir links to the lives of the citizens. Thus, the philosophical approach goes alongwith other aspects in several contexts (enviromental, political, legal, sociological,economic ) which should be considered as well.In many ways philosophy of science and philosophy of technology are atthe core of STS, because either the other disciplines are deeply embedded inthe philosophical approach or they have at least a clear connection with somephilosophical problems. Thus, insofar as there is this common ground –thephilosophical roots– in this field, Science, Technology and Society or Science2Some of the most influential views on STS had already started before the mid-1980’s, cf. BARNES,B., Scientific Knowledge and Sociological Theory, Routledge and K. Paul, London, 1974; LATOUR,B. and WOOLGAR, S., Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts, PrincetonUniversity Press, Princeton (NJ), 1979; K NORR-CETINA, K., The Manufacture of Knowledge. AnEssay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1981; andCOLLINS, H. M., Frames of Meaning: The Sociological Construction of Extraordinary Science,Routledge and K. Paul, London, 1982.3Cf. IHDE, D., “Has the Philosophy of Technology Arrived? A State-of-the-Art Review,” Philosophyof Science, v. 71, n. 1, (2004), pp. 117-131.4Cf. SCHARFF, R. C. and DUSEK, V. (eds.), Philosophy and Technology: The Technological Condition,Blackwell, Oxford, 2003.

The Philosophical Approach to Science, Technology and Societyand Technology Studies conforms an interdisciplinary endeavor rather than amultidisciplinary enterprise. The difference is neat: in the first case there is abase which –to some extent– is shared by the disciplines working on the field,whereas in the second case there is a collection of several disciplines dealing withthe topics without a real connection between them.But the kind of philosophical approach developed in STS is an enlarged visionof what it is usually understood as “philosophy.” The philosophical traditionsor schools which are very speculative have here some elbow room, because thereflection on the practical dimension of science and technology in the social settingrequires close attention to the concrete phenomena. Moreover, the philosophicalapproach in STS is a richer view than previous ones: on the one hand, it is –tosome extent– an expansion of philosophy of science and philosophy of technologythrough the emphasis in the external factors; and, on the other hand, STS dealswith new problems which have appeared in contemporary society (ecological,ethical, political ). Consequently, the philosophical approach is open to newideas, as we can see in many publications in this context (for example in problemssuch as risk and rationality).5Besides philosophy of science and philosophy of technology, there are severaldisciplines –philosophical and scientific– involved in STS. Each one of thesestudies deals with an aspect which affects either the relation between scienceand society or the nexus between technology and society. Usually, these studiestake into account their philosophical linkage insofar as they are included in STSrather than being developed on their own. These disciplines assume the internalaspects of science and technology (language, structure, knowledge, method ),but they put special emphasis on external features (social, historical, economic,political ). Among those studies of STS are practical ethics, policy analysis,legal studies, sociology of science and sociology of technology,6 economics ofscience and economics of technological change All of them have also, in oneway or another, a bond to history of science or to history of technology.STS includes a philosophical linkage in those studies. 1) Practical ethicswas originally a philosophical study which has enlarged its realm to create new5Cf. R ESCHER, N., Risk: A Philosophical Introduction to the Theory of Risk Evaluation andManagement, University Press of America, Lanham, 1983; SHRADER-FRECHETTE, K., Risk Analysisand Scientific Method: Methodological and Ethical Problems with Evaluating Societal Hazards,Reidel, Dordrecht, 1985; and SHRADER-FRECHETTE, K., Risk and Rationality: PhilosophicalFoundations for Populist Reforms, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991.6“Sociology of science” seems a better name than “sociology of scientific knowledge”: on the onehand, sociology should take into account more aspects than knowledge, because science is also ahuman activity with aims, processes and results; and, on the other hand, “sociology of scientificknowledge” appears frequently as an expression of the social constructivist conception, which is apossible orientation of the sociology of science rather than the only one.In addition, from a historical point of view, there is also an influential “sociology of knowledge”which has differences with present perspectives, cf. M ANNHEIM, K., Essays on the Sociology ofKnowledge, Routledge and K. Paul, London, 1952.5

6Science, Technology and Society: A Philosophical Perspectivespecialities, such as bioethics or environmental ethics.7 2) Policy analysis is alsoconnected with philosophy of science and philosophy of technology insofar asthey need several epistemological and methodological distinctions8 (such asscience and non-science, technics and technology, technoscience, basic scienceand applied science, oriented science and non-oriented science ). 3) Legalstudies are usually interwoven with concerns about practical ethics and issuesraised by policy analysis. This is the case in science (e.g., in the research aboutstem cells or in the case of human cloning) as well as in technology (e.g., in nuclearresearch). Laws on science and technology depend on philosophical assumptionsby the members of parliaments or political assemblies. 4) Sociology of science andsociology of technology have clear philosophical roots in important conceptionsdeveloped in recent times (such as Kuhnian views in the Strong Program, neoKantian positions in the social contructivisms or postmodern conceptionsin the ethnomethodology of science as well as in the approach of the SocialConstruction of Technology –SCOT–). 5) Economics of science and economicsof technological change also have links with the philosophical approach.9 Amongthose ties are specially visible the vinculum with the analysis of rationality indecision-making.10Even though some of these disciplines clearly develop a scientific study ofa science (e.g., sociology of science, economics of science ), where empiricalinformation has a central role, this feature does not exclude a philosophicalapproach. Philosophy can pay attention to the aims, processes and results ofscientific activities and technological doings. It analyzes what science andtechnology are, but it also considers what science and technology ought to do inorder to have better standards. Thus, insofar as science and technology in STS are7Both philosophy of science and philosophy of technology have an ethical dimension, whichwill be pointed out later on in this paper. But bioethics and environmental ethics have receivedincreasing attention from professionals related to health sciences (medicine, nursing, ) andsciences connected with the environment (ecology, forestry, ). Thus, they study more specificdetails (mainly in the sphere of the consequences of human actions) than philosophy of scienceand philosophy of technology.8For Kristin Shrader-Frechette, the political analyses of technology are a central part of thephilosophy of technology and she criticizes the attempt to reduce technology to epistemology, cf.SHRADER-FRECHETTE , K., “Reductionist Philosophy of Technology: Stones Thrown from Inside aGlass House,” Techné. Journal of the Society for Philosophy and Technology, v. 5, n. 1, (1999),pp. 32-43.9On the status and characteristics of economics of science, cf. GONZALEZ, W. J., “De la Ciencia de laEconomía a la Economía de la Ciencia: Marco conceptual de la reflexión metodológica y axiológica,”in AVILA, A., GONZALEZ, W. J. and MARQUES, G. (eds.), Ciencia económica y Economía de la Ciencia:Reflexiones filosófico-metodológicas, FCE, Madrid, 2001, pp. 11-37; especially, pp. 20-22.For the economic views on technological change, cf. NELSON, R. R. and WINTER, S. G., AnEvolutionary Theory of Economic Change, Belknap Press, Cambridge, 1982, and FREEMAN, C. andSOETE, L., Economics of Industrial Innovation, 3ª ed., The MIT Press, Cambridge, 1997. On thedeterminants and directions of technological change, cf. DOSI, G., “Technological Paradigms andTechnological Trajectories,” Research Policy, v. ll, (1982), pp. 147-162.10Cf. GONZALEZ, W. J., “Racionalidad y Economía: De la racionalidad de la Economía como Cienciaa la racionalidad de los agentes económicos,” in GONZALEZ, W. J. (ed.), Racionalidad, historicidad ypredicción en Herbert A. Simon, Netbiblo, A Coruña, 2003, pp. 65-96.

The Philosophical Approach to Science, Technology and Societyopen to metascientific and metatechnological reflections, STS can consider thenormative aspects which are central to philosophy of science and philosophy oftechnology. Among them are problems related to scientific rationality and issuesconnected with technological rationality.11In addition to the scientific studies already pointed out (a list that could beenlarged with other social sciences),12 STS includes history of science and historyof technology as well. Moreover, they are also under philosophy of scienceand philosophy of technology. This phenomenon is particularly clear after the“historical turn” taken in the sixties in philosophy of science. This turn was ledby Thomas Kuhn and Imre Lakatos in the first decade, and continued thereafterby Larry Laudan.13 They have highlighted the historicity in the case of scientificactivity, but it can be held that technological doings also have a historical character,as can be seen particularly in the study of technological change.To be sure, history of science and history of technology can be developedemphasizing either the epistemic content –the “internal” aspect– or the socialdimension (the external element). But both aspects –internal and external–should be considered when philosophy of science and philosophy of technologyare developed. The “social turn” of STS stresses the second scope: the contextualconditions. Moreover, that kind of research –the social dimension– is tout courta subject of Science, Technology and Society or Science and

discoveries or improvements of science or technology (the search for fame, power relations, institutional traditions ). Within the realm of Science, Technology and Society or Science and Technology Studies, this book focuses on the philosophical perspective. It attends to philosophy of science as well as to philosophy of technology. Thus .

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