Work, Technology and Participation

Knowledge dynamics in technical sciences

project description

The interdisciplinary joint project examines the handling of knowledge in technical sciences. It thus makes a contribution to knowledge and science research and sees itself as basic research. The aim is to work out the specifics of technical science and the dynamics of technical scientific knowledge. Common classifications of technical and scientific knowledge (theoretical knowledge, rule knowledge, empirical knowledge, etc.) are checked. Above all, however, the dynamic handling of this knowledge - from acquisition to application - is examined and systematized in the form of models. The investigations focus on various humanities, social sciences and economics perspectives of engineering sciences, which are examined and integrated based on case studies. University research forms the core area of the investigations; where necessary, contextual factors such as business, politics or the public are also included.

Within the framework of the project, a theoretical-systematic basis is to be created in order to change and shape the way knowledge is handled in technical sciences. Based on its results, the joint project expects a wide range of reflection offers for the technical sciences: more precise formulations of the self-image of the technical sciences, a more precise positioning of the technical sciences in the system of sciences, an improvement in internal and external communication skills through the clarification of central knowledge terms, an understanding of the dynamics of knowledge networks and an increase in the reflexivity of technical and scientific work.

Subproject 1 - From artefacts to knowledge facts. On the scientification of construction through information technology artefacts using the example of the use of CAD, CAM and CAE in mechanical engineering

Content: A special feature of the dynamics of technical-scientific knowledge is that knowledge is gained in construction processes with artefacts and manifests itself in artefacts. Computer-based design tools, which are used to generate technical and scientific knowledge and make the knowledge gained available in their handling, have a key function. The aim of this sub-project is to examine the epistemic effectiveness of information technology artefacts in construction processes and the resulting consequences for knowledge dynamics in engineering sciences. Because they not only represent important tools in knowledge acquisition, knowledge coordination and knowledge integration. But due to their framework conditions in development, they are also a constitutive part of knowledge generation.

This results in two levels of investigation. On the one hand, computer-based artifacts are viewed as knowledge manifestations in which knowledge is expressed and embodied. On the other hand, the focus is on their role as tools of knowledge and the cognitive practices associated with them. From the perspective of use, it must be clarified how the epistemic prerequisites of the tools are reflected in the development and how new technical and scientific knowledge is generated with their help. The theoretical-conceptual analysis unfolds along empirical case studies. They come from the field of mechanical engineering using vehicle technology/brake systems as the leading example and aim to reveal and critically examine the use of CAD (computer-aided design), CAE (computer-aided engineering) and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) under knowledge-related questions.

Not least due to the still widespread assessment of technical-scientific knowledge as the mere application of knowledge made available from other areas, a deeper understanding of the dynamics of technical-scientific knowledge is a great research desideratum. The sub-project addresses this deficit in two ways: Firstly, it can work out the epistemological peculiarities of the area and thus represents an important building block of a general scientific theory of technical sciences that has yet to be developed. Secondly, the results promise indications for dealing with the world-shaping potential of information technology artifacts. The clarification of the underlying processes is able to uncover the prerequisites of technology design already in its development phase. Their critical analysis can make a significant contribution to increasing the previously undeveloped reflexivity in engineering.

Project team

Dr. Sabine Ammon

Funded by

German Research Association (DFG)

Oktober 2016 to September 2020

Project partner

Prof. Dr. Sabine Ammon

Prof. Dr. Nina Baur

Prof. Dr. Hans-Liudger Dienel

Prof. Dr. Markus A. Feufel

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Claudia Fleck

Dr. Jannis Hergesell

M.Sc. Julius Jenek

Dr.-Ing. Anke Märten

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henning Jürgen Meyer

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Müller

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Stark

Dipl.-Ing. Wei Min Wang

Prof. Dr.

Hans-Liudger Dienel

Office MAR 1-1


Press release of TU Berlin:
Wie das Wissen in der Technik entsteht