A Cooperation of

Welcome to GOTO

The GOTO project aims at developing the philosophy of technoscience through a focus on the objects of technoscientific research. How do researchers envision the furniture of the world – as elementary particles and ultimate constituents of matter, or as quotidian things that sustain innovation and have the potential to become solutions to pressing problems? This is an ontological question which suggests that the ontology of the technosciences differs from that of modern science. Moreover, this difference deserves attention because these objects challenge received ways of thinking about the natural and the artificial, science and engineering, substance and potentiality.

Together with colleagues from Europe, South America, and the US, researchers from the Sorbonne in Paris and the Technische Universität Darmstadt investigate research objects that did not come into being as pure phenomena, but that became objects of study because of their technological promise or their dependency on technological systems. These objects originate within a specific epistemological context revolving around technical control, and they reconfigure the disciplinary map of knowledge. They include known objects that are of interest to multiple disciplines (stem-cells, arctic ice) and objects that do not exist as of yet but are to emerge in the long term from a convergence of research efforts (targeted drug delivery systems). Others are said to be just around the corner (lab-on-a-chip, BioBricks™ for synthetic bacteria). There are objects established in one research context that are of interest to others (mechanochemical molecular motors, marine shells, micro-algae), and objects that are engineered to provide a common referent for a variety of approaches (onco-mouse, carbon nanotubes, an artificial water catchment). In brief, we propose to analyze technoscientific objects that are neither natural phenomena nor technical devices, and that enjoy considerable prominence in contemporary research.