New Forms of Complementarity in Science

Minerva 48 (4):355-387 (2010)
Abstract
New sciences born or developed in the 20th century (information, materials, life science) are based on forms of complementarity that differ from the past. The paper discusses cognitive, or disciplinary, institutional, and technical complementarity. It argues that new sciences apply a reductionist explanatory strategy to complex multi-layered systems. In doing so the reductionist promise is falsified, generating the need for multi-level kinds of explanation (e.g. in post-genomic molecular biology), new forms of complementarity between scientific and non-scientific organizations, and new forms of experimental and informational facilities. The paper develops the argument in theoretical terms, comparing it with the STS literature, and offers preliminary evidence based on the experience of Networks of Excellence
Keywords Dynamics of science  Reductionism  Search regimes  Inter-disciplinarity  Non-scientific institutions  Complementarity
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