Monday, 5 July 2010

A bioinformatics revolution?

A good question to be answered by those working in bioinformatics is whether there has been a revolution in "techne" ( in the sense of technology) or in "episteme" (scientific knowledge). Or was it in both? I'm affraid Thomas Kuhn could not help us to answer this though question, because maybe the anwer is beyond the limits of epistemology, and the central point is the relationship between science and technology. For those who think about technology as a mere tool for science, it must be said that much of the scientific advancement is due to technology, while technology does not necessarily depend on science to advance. The technology depends on science to discover new phenomena, which will permit the building of new technological tools, but that's not always the case. Technology can advance by combining existing technologies, as usually it does.

In this sense, I like the W. Brian Arthur's definition in his "The nature of technology":

"From all this it follows that science not only uses technology, it builds itself from technology. (...) Science builds itself from the instruments, methods, experiments, and conceptual constructions it uses. Science, after all, is a method: a method for understanding, for probing, for explaining. A method composed of many submethods. Stripped to its core structure, science is a form of technology."

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