Tools, Instruments and Engines: Getting a Handle on the Specificity of Engine Science
|Title||Tools, Instruments and Engines: Getting a Handle on the Specificity of Engine Science|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2001|
|Secondary Title||Social Studies of Science|
This paper is conceptual and methodological. On the basis of both empirical and explanatory considerations, I craft a number of analytic categories - ‘epistemic engines’, ‘meters’, ‘scopes’, ‘graphs’ and ‘chambers’ - through which to investigate and understand the character of key forms of the material culture of scientific practice. I argue that much of modern science can be understood in its specificity as ‘engine science’, a tremendously powerful and generative culture of inquiry. The analytic categories have stability across temporal and spatial localities and have broad applicability across the sciences. The analysis circumvents dualisms, such as those between science and technology, micro and macro, and science and society, and indicates a way to conceptualize the character of ‘engineering cultures’ and ‘engineering states’.