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Ontology in Science and Technology Studies

By: Sally Wyatt & Loet Leydesdorff | Edited by: Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W. Sakshaug & Richard A. Williams Published: 2019 | Length: 3 | DOI: |
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Science and technology studies (STS) analyses ontologies (definitions of reality) as empirical phenomena, whereas in philosophy, ontology is concerned with what there is in the world. STS focuses on how new theoretical insights and novel instruments create or construct new objects or make visible entities that may have been around for a while. STS draws attention to the coproduction of “nature” and “society” in scientific practices. For example, only after the development of microscopes could scientists make claims about the nature and existence of bacteria, not previously visible to the human eye. In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur’s laboratory changed the world by adding microbes to it (Latour, 1988). The microbes were written into nature and society as epistemic objects, in effect expanding what can ...

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