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Towards a method for evaluating technological expectations: Revealing uncertainty in gene silencing technology discourse

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This paper investigates the dynamics of expectations from a cognitive semantic perspective, specifically the relationship between epistemological asymmetry and uncertainty. Building on the work of several other authors since the 1980s, we propose a new framework based on frame semantics for discovering and organizing information related to expectations. When this framework is applied to two sets of expectations surrounding the applications of RNA interference, a recently discovered molecular genetic phenomenon with increasing notoriety, uncertainty seems to be correlated with what we call conceptual distance, the difference between past/present and future aspects of expectations. In essence, levelling of epistemological asymmetry through frame semantic analysis can decrease or increase uncertainty based on conceptual distance from previously fulfilled expectations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Sussex, Brighton, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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