The problem of technological knowledge: a general epistemological characterization of biotechnology


  • Roberto López Mas Universidad de las Islas Baleares



Technological knowledge, applied science, prescriptive nature, tacitness, biotechnology


The technology as applied science approach constituted, since the middle of the 20th century, the hegemonic view regarding the issue of technological knowledge. Although several alternatives to this more traditional proposal have been developed since the 1970s, the nature of the knowledge required to design and produce bioartefacts still has not been studied in sufficient depth. This article addresses the matter of technological knowledge with the aim of proposing a general epistemological characterization of biotechnology. The results show that biotechnological knowledge is formed by different types of knowledge that incorporate, on the one hand, prescriptive and, to some extent, tacit content and, on the other one, representational knowledge that is not necessarily provided by previous scientific research. The conclusion is that a characterization of the nature of biotechnological knowledge that exceeds the technology as applied science thesis is feasible by means of the analysis of the prescriptive knowledge from biotechnology that is not limited by a set of technological rules, its fundamental tacitness in contexts of design innovation, and the representational knowledge that may be generated in the process itself of creating bioartefacts.

Author Biography

Roberto López Mas, Universidad de las Islas Baleares

Universidad de las Islas Baleares, España


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