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By John M. Ziman

Professor Ziman offers a coherent account of different views on technology and know-how which are mostly studied below a number of disciplinary heads akin to philosophy of technology, sociology of technological know-how, and technological know-how coverage. it truly is meant for college kids embarking on classes in those matters and assumes no specified wisdom of any technology. it's written in an immediate and easy variety, and technical language is seldom brought. it is going to attract scholars in a variety of clinical disciplines and enhances Professor Ziman's prior books.
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Example text

A beautifully articulated and self-consistent structure of abstract entities is of no scientific interest unless it is accompanied by interpretative principles relating it to the empirical world. , stood for measurable quantities such as position, time, energy, and so on. Even though these principles may not play a significant part in the internal theoretical manipulations, they are essential elements in the theory as a whole. Finally, if a theory is to be of scientific use, it must be extensible: it should ' explain' more facts than it was originally intended to cover.

The Bohr model of an atom as a miniature Solar System still has valuable explanatory power, even though the 'planets' represent particles which cannot even be localized precisely. Even in scientific thought the boundary between' analogy' and' metaphor' cannot be strictly defined. Nevertheless a model can often provide an 'explanation' for a vast range of observed facts. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, for example, the atomic model provided a simple rationale for an immense amount of empirical knowledge about chemical compounds and their reactions, including a great deal of numerical detail concerning combining weights even in reactions that had not previously been studied.

In most cases, this can be done within the conventional formalism of the science in question. For example, chemical hypotheses can usually be expressed diagrammatically in terms of three-dimensional atomic arrangements, whilst theoretical physics is almost always communicated in the symbolism of advanced mathematics. Indeed, every scientific specialty has an established repertoire of useful concepts and formalisms out of which new theories can normally be constructed (cf. 3). The vocabulary of scientific publications is not only notoriously esoteric: in any particular field of research, this vocabulary may actually be quite limited, as if most of the facts were being satisfactorily explained in terms of only a few standard theoretical concepts.

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