Perovskite philosophy: a branch-formation model of application-oriented science

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In this paper, I present a model of application-oriented science, to supplement existing work in science and technology studies on the re-orientation of scientific research. On this “branch-formation” model, research efforts may be guided by non-epistemic values without compromising their epistemic value: they may involve completion of mechanism representations that serve control over these mechanisms while also adding to our understanding of them. I illustrate this model with a case study from photovoltaic technology, involving the possible use of materials with the so-called ‘perovskite’ structure in dye-sensitized solar cells. The paper has three parts. The first argues how existing work on the increasing application-orientedness of scientific research can and must be supplemented with a perspective from the philosophy of science. The second presents the branch-formation model, which combines central ideas of the ‘finalization-of-science’ program of the Starnberg school with recent work in ‘mechanistic’ philosophy of science and in the philosophy of technology. The third part illustrates the branch-formation model with current developments in research on perovskite solar cells.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhilosophy of Technology after the Empirical Turn
EditorsM. Franssen, P.E. Vermaas, P. Kroes, A.W.M. Meijers
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-33717-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-33716-6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NamePhilosophy of Engineering and Technology
ISSN (Print)1879-7202
ISSN (Electronic)1879-7210


  • Basic and applied research
  • Mechanism
  • Mode 2 knowledge
  • triple helix


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