Graduate studies at Western
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (1):27 – 47 (2006)
|Abstract||Unlike basic sciences, scientific research in advanced technologies aims to explain, predict, and (mathematically) describe not phenomena in nature, but phenomena in technological artefacts, thereby producing knowledge that is utilized in technological design. This article first explains why the covering-law view of applying science is inadequate for characterizing this research practice. Instead, the covering-law approach and causal explanation are integrated in this practice. Ludwig Prandtl's approach to concrete fluid flows is used as an example of scientific research in the engineering sciences. A methodology of distinguishing between regions in space and/or phases in time that show distinct physical behaviours is specific to this research practice. Accordingly, two types of models specific to the engineering sciences are introduced. The diagrammatic model represents the causal explanation of physical behaviour in distinct spatial regions or time phases; the nomo-mathematical model represents the phenomenon in terms of a set of mathematically formulated laws.|
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