Technology & Scientific Knowledge

Symposium November 16th

Contemporary scientific practices are crucially dependent on technologies. Technologies allow for the discovery of new planets, the detection of diseases on a cellular level, and make us redefine the nature of human cognition. However, technologies are often also conceptualized as the practical applications of scientific knowledge – as opposed to theory and belonging to the messy domain of practical action. How must we think of this duality that technology is both the outcome of- and constitutive for scientific knowledge? In this symposium, the prominence of technologies in scientific practice and its consequences will be discussed. Must we think of technologies as mere enhancers of our human observational capabilities, or do they also introduce new modes of thinking within scientific practices? You are all cordially invited to discuss these – and many other questions concerning the relationship between science and technology.


  • Date and time: November 16, 10:00 – 17:00
  • Location: DesignLab, Campus University of Twente, Hengelosestraat 500, 7521 AN, Enschede, The Netherlands
  • E-mail:
  • Everyone interested in this topic is cordially invited!
  • Registration fees: None, but registration is strongly encouraged (no lunch included)
  • Please register by sending an email to


  • Dr. Jan Kyrre Berg Friis (Copenhagen University)
  • Prof. dr. Aud Sissel Hoel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
  • dr. Hans Radder (Free University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr. Federica Russo (University of Amsterdam)
  • PhD Cand. Bas de Boer (University of Twente)


10:00 – 10:15   Coffee & Tea

10:15 – 10:30     Introductory Talk: Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente) – Technological Mediation & Epistemology

10:30 – 11:30     Hans Radder (Free University of Amsterdam) – Theory and Practice of Scientific and Technological Patenting: An Overview of Philosophical and Social Issues

                                    Commenter: Mieke Boon (University of Twente)

11:30 – 12:30     Jan Kyrre Berg Friis (University of Copenhagen) – From Technology to Science: Tacit Interpretation Practices in Medical Science

                                    Commenter: Sophie van Baalen (University of Twente)

12:30 – 13:30     Lunch

13:30 – 14:30     Federica Russo (University of Amsterdam) – Productive Causality in Technoscientific Research

                                    Commenter: Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente)

14:30 – 15:30     Aud Sissel Hoel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) – Styles of Objectivity in Image-Guided Neurosurgery

                                    Commenter: Hedwig te Molder (University of Twente, Wageningen University)

15:30 – 15:45     Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:00     Plenary Discussion introduced by a short talk: Bas de Boer (University of Twente) –Making and Observing Scientific Phenomena: Between Technique and Technology


Hans Radder (Free University of Amsterdam)

Hans Radder is Professor Emeritus in Philosophy of Science and Technology at VU University Amster­dam. He holds degrees in physics (BA and MSc.) and in philosophy (BA, MA and PhD). Principal themes in his work are: scientific observation and experimenta­tion, the historical, epistemological and ontological significance of concepts, scientific realism, the norma­tive and politi­cal significance of science and technol­ogy, and the commercialization of science. He published numerous articles and several books, including In and about the World (1996), The World Observed/The World Conceived (2006), and The Material Realization of Science. From Habermas to Experimentation and Referential Realism (2012 - revised edition, with a new postscript). He edited The Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation (2003) and The Commodification of Academic Research. Science and the Modern University (2010), and co-edited (with Alfred Nordmann and Gregor Schiemann) Science Transformed? Debating Claims of an Epochal Break (2011). He is one of the founders of the Platform Hervorming Nederlandse Universiteiten (Platform for the Reform of Dutch Universities; see

Jan Kyrre Berg Friis (University of Copenhagen)

Jan Kyrre Friis, philosopher of Science at the Medical Faculty, University of Copenhagen, Deputy director of MeST – Centre for Medical Science and Technology Studies. He has edited several volumes on the philosophy of technology and science and authored several papers on the nature of time in physics and philosophy. He has the last years been working on the relationship between hermeneutics, visual perception, tacit knowledge and image technologies in medicine.

Federica Russo (University of Amsterdam)

Federica Russo is Assistant Professor in Philosophy of Science at the University of Amsterdam. She is interested in causality and evidence in the social, biomedical, and policy sciences, as well as in the relation between science and technology. Among her recent publications: Causality: Philosophical Theory Meets Scientific Practice (co-authored with Phyllis Illari, Oxford University Press, 2014), Causality and Causal Modelling in the Social Sciences. Measuring Variations (Springer, 2009). Federica also authored several articles in international journals and spanning various themes, such as causation and causal modelling, explanation, evidence, and technology. She edited the volume Causality in the Sciences with Phyllis Illari and Jon Williamson (Oxford University Press, 2011).Federica sits in the steering committee of the ‘Causality in the Sciences’ Conference Series and is activity leader of the Society for the Philosophy of Information. For more information please visit

Aud Sissel Hoel (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Aud Sissel Hoel is Professor of Media Studies and Visual Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Her research, which combines theory development and empirical case studies, concerns the roles of instruments and tools in knowledge and being, particularly images and visualization. Recently Hoel completed an interdisciplinary research project on brain images, and currently she is conducting a Marie Skłodowska-Curie project on image-guided surgery at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Hoel has published widely in the overlapping fields of visual culture, science studies and media philosophy.

Peter-Paul Verbeek (University of Twente)

Peter-Paul Verbeek (1970) is professor of philosophy of technology at the Department of Philosophy, vice dean of the School of Behavioral, Management, and Social Sciences, and co-director of the DesignLab at the University of Twente, The Netherlands. Verbeek’s research focuses on the philosophy of human-technology relations, and aims to contribute to philosophical theory, ethical reflection, and practices of design and innovation. Peter-Paul Verbeek is author of Moralizing Technology: Understanding and Designing the Morality of Things (University of Chicago Press, 2011), in which he analyzes the moral significance of technologies, and its implications for ethical theory and for design practices. He also published What Things Do: Philosophical Reflections on Technology, Agency, and Design (Penn State University Press, 2005), which investigates how technologies mediate human actions and experiences, with applications to industrial design. He is co-editor of the volumes Postphenomenological Investigations: Essays on Human-Technology Relations (Lexington 2015, with Robert Rosenberger), The Moral Status of Technical Artefacts (Springer 2014, with Peter Kroes), and User Behavior and Technology Design – Shaping Sustainable Relations between Consumers and Technologies (Springer 2006, with Adriaan Slob).

Bas de Boer (University of Twente)

Bas de Boer is a PhD student at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente. He writes his dissertation on the topic of epistemic mediation as part of the larger VICI-program ‘Theorizing Technological Mediation, led by Peter-Paul Verbeek. His research focuses on the role technologies in scientific practice, with a specific focus on the neurosciences, and on how these technologies influence scientific observations and conceptualizations.

This symposium is part of the NWO funded VICI-program: Theorizing Technological Mediation, led by Prof. Dr. Ir. Peter Paul Verbeek.