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Unpublished Paper
Anchoring Phenomenology within techno science
  • Thomas Zadrozny

The enormous industrial, economic and societal development of the last centuries has been built on the solid foundations of science. This development has not only been fruitful for the welfare of society, but has also coevolved with science itself, giving rise to various theories and methods, viewpoints and disciplines. In the mentioned period of interest these disciplines were typically distinct fields of study until about the first part of the twentieth century, when more and more refined scientific methods allowed us to see again the inherent connectedness of natural phenomena, and motivated the formation of multi- and interdisciplinary research teams.

These teams have been working on domain problems but have aimed at finding and using common methods that were correctly assumed to provide significant improvements of results. Due to the nature of this development, a valuable element remains excluded from scientific method, i.e. phenomenology of perception. This has remained in the realm of philosophers and has not enjoyed the multidisciplinary attention it deserves. This is particularly the case for the development of scientific and technological strategies for topics within frontier research, which can bring potential added value phenomena, and fall within techno science theories and methods due to a fresh perception approach.

The idea of Anchoring Phenomenology within techno science seems unavoidable, despite fears of failure and difficulties. The aim is to develop a methodology and the necessary support tools to incorporate the phenomenological issue of perception into the fields of Economics, Sociology, Physics, Biology, Aesthetics, and Mathematics. This seemingly impossible task of anchoring phenomenology within techno science, can be tackled by a unifying frontier research effort, carried out by a group of advanced thinkers possessing excellence, autonomy of ideas, and the capacity of networking optimally, as their essential principles of work.

Much of twentieth century Philosophy of Science has been devoted to understanding the role of scientific theories and has neglected phenomenological (Husserl) and experimental (Popper) work. The use of phenomenology and experimentation should not be seen as a falsification of theories but rather as complements of these. The role of social interactions between scientists (Kuhn) has also been used to explain the success of a scientific theory, and some paradoxical conclusions on the equivalence between myths and science (Feyerabend) have been promoted and extended to include also socio-economic sciences.

Today, the attention of scientists, and also philosophers and historians of science, on phenomenology has been rather poor, fragmented and dispersed. While the social aspect of the scientific enterprise seems well described (Galison), historicity, semiotics and phenomenology applied to existing scientific theory still remain to be worked “in extenso”. While it is generally accepted that scientific breakthrough is fuelled by phenomena that have passed the frontier towards science theory, little has been done to study phenomena in such a way to give it added value, be it as a complement or as an addition, to the scientific model. To make the picture even more complex, the theories of frames (Groupe µ), semiotics (Eco) and perception phenomenology (Husserl, Hegel and Legros) have not been sufficiently developed to integrate into an environment of semiotic communicational social units and scientific inter subjectivity.

For all the reasons outlined above, anchoring phenomenology within techno science is a plausible frontier research strategy, as the scientific model available up to now has not yet completely incorporated within it the abstract, subjective and intangible elements enshrined in phenomenology. Hence the extension of the scientific model (Measurement) by phenomenological approaches and principles (Perception) is necessary.

Measurement is an indispensable part of the classical scientific method. A measurement is an interaction between a measured system, without measurement there is no scientific investigation and it has laid the foundations for the development of the so-called hard sciences. However, measurement provides an abstraction of the real world as measurement only represents a limited aspect of reality (Galileo scheme). Furthermore, the perception of objects, concepts and systems depends essentially on education, traditions, experience and ideologies framing individual and community beliefs and actions.

The problem formulation concerning the issue of anchoring phenomenology within techno science, besides the epistemological and teleological realm of science, is the inadequacy of classic scientific models and their inability to incorporate phenomena as they are, within it. Hence their extension by phenomenology of perception, at a multidisciplinary level, is necessary. This profoundly new approach of scientific method is confronted the following facts:

• Scientific work requires phenomenological approaches, but within the scientific method this usually is not taken into consideration. • Classical scientific methods provide static results that do not take into account a set of pertaining data within history, philosophy, aesthetics and other. The interdependency of these elements is not represented. Dynamic phenomenological aspects are not investigated. Perception is completely separated from theory, there is no vertical integration. • Phenomenology of perception is often regarded as impossible and relatively very little attention is paid in most domains of applications • There is no generally accepted and well-formulated framework for phenomenology within science, and it is nearly never discussed in a multidisciplinary scientific environment.

Therefore a philosophical conceptualisation of the problems of phenomenology within science and the development of a scientific framework to be hosted within the scientific method is necessary, comprising:

• Analysis of the state-of-the-art. • Preparation of a research blueprint. • Development of a complex phenomenological model for science. • Development of a multi-disciplinary tool based on the model. • Interdisciplinary discussion, testing and verification of the developed model and tools in the fields of: social sciences and humanities, mathematics, life sciences, applied technologies, nanotechnologies and other fields.

The first relevant element is the need of an interdisciplinary research team, working on complexity and reality in the inter phase of science and phenomenology. Cross-fertilization of research relating to scientific models is therefore likely to take place across the different fields of science involved in the project. This new approach can have a positive impact on techno scientific research that does not breakthrough due to perception issues. In particular, the need of developing models of emergence of aggregate perception in order to design strategies for research efforts with a specified systemic perception handicap.

In this sense the research could lead to a new common tool for designing models and approaches, which will allow us to deal better with scientific perception problems. In fact, the standard phenomenological tool proposed, besides representing a framework that allows in principle such research debugging and the exploitation of the best breakthrough potential, also increases the usability of phenomenal data, with no direct possibility of measurement, within a measurable scientific method environment. This could help in making the chosen methodology clearer for studying complex systems and realities of which there is no direct knowledge.

This approach implies a sound novelty: a common phenomenological framework integrated into scientific method with a relevant implication not only for techno scientific breakthrough in the frontier of science, but also for decision making, helping to orientate public decisions and problem management.

  • Science,
  • echnology,
  • phenomenology,
  • frontier research
Publication Date
Citation Information
Thomas Zadrozny. "Anchoring Phenomenology within techno science" (2008)
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