Nanomachine : One word for three different paradigms


Abstract
Scientists and engineers who extensively use the term “nanomachine” are not always aware of the philosophical implications of this term. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the concept of nanomachine through a distinction between three major paradigms of machine. After a brief presentation of two well-known paradigms - Cartesian mechanistic machines and Von Neumann's complex and uncontrolled machines – we will argue that Drexler's model was mainly Cartesian. But what about the model of his critics? We propose a third model - Gilbert Simondon's notion of concrete machines – which seems more appropriate to understand nanomachines than the notion of “soft machines”. Finally we review a few strategies currently used to design nanomachines, in an effort to determine which paradigm they belong to
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References found in this work BETA

Complexity and Uncertainty: A Prudential Approach to Nanotechnology.Jean-Pierre Dupuy - forthcoming - Nanoethics. The Ethical and Social Implications of Nanotechnology. New Jersey.
Réflexions Sur la Science des Machines.Jacques Lafitte - 1972 - Libraire Philosophique J. Vrin.
Le tout et la partie dans la pensée biologique.Georges Canguilhem - 1966 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 21 (1):3 - 16.

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Citations of this work BETA

Synthetic Biology and its Alternatives. Descartes, Kant and the Idea of Engineering Biological Machines.Werner Kogge & Michael Richter - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):181-189.
Philosophical Perspectives on Synthetic Biology.Gabriele Gramelsberger, Tarja Knuuttila & Axel Gelfert - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (2):119-121.

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