The conference is supposed to address the question which kind of research in the natural sciences is suitable to promoting technological progress. This question concerns the impact of fundamental research and application-oriented research in generating practically useful research outcome. Such research may proceed either in a theory-guided way or by addressing concrete practical problems. On the first option, broad epistemic research is most likely to produce progress on practically significant problems, while in the latter framework, higher-level theories are assumed to be unable to account for the details of experience and the burden of explanation is expected to be borne by unfounded approximations, auxiliary assumptions and corrections. The corresponding research heuristics suggests meeting practical challenges by conducting targeted, narrowly focused research. The history of science contains examples for both these claims. Such examples were discussed at the conference. The aim was to explore their historical impact and to seek to understand the historical case-studies philosophically in a more coherent way. The topic was addressed in a Chinese-German framework. The question which research heuristics can be expected to be practically useful is particularly urgent in present-day China. Moreover, historical parallels exist between the German situation in the later nineteenth century and the situation China faces today.
Anke Büter (Hannover, GER), Sumei Cheng (Shanghai, CHN), Michael Eckert (München GER), Zaiqing Fang (Peking, CHN), Xiaonan Hong (Dalian City, CHN), Paul Hoyningen-Huene (Hannover, GER), Xiaotao Liu (Shanghai, CHN), Alfred Nordmann (Darmstadt, GER), Wolfgang Pietsch (München, GER), Friedrich Steinle (Berlin, GER), Bufan Wang (Shanghai, CHN), Qian Wang (Dalian City, CHN), Tianen Wang (Shanghai, CHN), Torsten Wilholt (Hannover, GER), Liyun Zhou (Shanghai, CHN), Huijuan Zhou (Peking, CHN)