Towards a hermeneutic of technomedical objects
Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 2008; 29(2): 103-120
In this article I consider some central aspects of the naturalist philosophy of science and science and technology studies in dealing with the contested status of technoscience in medicine. Focusing on the concepts of realism and representation, I argue that theories of science-as-practice in naturalist philosophy of science should expand their scope so as to reflect more thoroughly on the social and political context of technoscience. I develop a hermeneutic of technomedical objects in order to highlight the internal connectedness between social action, material agency, and the actions of scientific communities. The framework thus developed is used to re-consider the genomic turn in medicine. Pointing to the discrepancies between socially dominant representations of genomic technology and the actual interventions brought about through those technologies, I raise the question of how and where to address problems of theory and policy.
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