European Review

FOCUS—Science and Technology Assessment

New combinations

Arie Rip*


By looking at science as a search process, disciplinary demarcations become secondary, and new combinations—which occur all the time—can be better recognized. The practices of natural science contain social science components (to discipline the world) and humanities components (telling of stories), and the quality of these components can be enhanced. The search perspective unifies science and scholarship; the important differences are not between natural science, social science and humanities, but between ‘grammar’, ‘(hi)story’ and ‘nomology’, three ideal–typical approaches in search processes. Existing scientific/scholarly developments and new combinations can be located on this map. An integrated science policy should create a stimulating environment for new combinations.

Arie Rip is Professor of Philosophy of Science and Technology at Twente University, The Netherlands. His interests are in analysis of research policy and technology assessment. He is a past President of the International Society for the Social Studies in Science. His most recent (co-edited) book is Managing Technology in Society—The Approach of Constructive Technology Assessment.


* Centre for Studies of Science, Technology and Society, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands.