Vol.5 No.1 2012
Research paper : Analysis of synthetic approaches described in papers of the journal Synthesiology (N. Kobayashi et al.)−54−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.5 No.1 (2012) the Research Institute for Cell Engineering and then research coordinator, AIST. Vice president in 2008. Specialty is biochemistry. In this paper, was in charge of the section for life science (biotechnology).Discussions with Reviewers1 Overall evaluationComment (Kanji Ueda, AIST)This paper attempts to establish synthesiology as a science of synthesis through actual practice, and I think it is very interesting and highly significant.2 Title of the paper and objectiveQuestion and Comment (Kanji Ueda)The objectives of this paper can be understood as an analysis of the synthesis method from the papers published in Synthesiology (main title), and to arrive at synthesiology to link the research result to society (subtitle). Does this mean the positioning of this paper is an attempt to synthesize (or create) a new “study” called synthesiology by the analysis (as a method) of the existing papers, or in one phrase “synthesis by analysis”? If so, I think you should state this clearly.Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)Thank you very much for your clear suggestion. As you indicated, the objective of this paper is to “aim for the new study of synthesis” as stated in the subtitle, and that means that the “analysis of the synthesis method” is conducted, as stated in the main title. The meaning is certainly “synthesis by analysis.” I added this point to the end of chapter 1.3 Definition and use of the terms “integration” and “synthesis”Comment (Akira Ono, AIST)In Synthesiology, “integration” and “synthesis” are central concepts. Since these two terms are used frequently in this paper, I shall comment on their definition and use.In “integration,” the main interest is in the process and the fact of gathering separate elements and combining them into one. What is created as a result of such combination is subordinate. Hence, the direct object of the verb “to integrate” is the element.On the other hand, in “synthesis,” the focus is on the thing that was made as a result, and the main interest is in what elements compose the thing and how its structure is. The interest in the process of combining the elements seems to be subordinate. The object of the verb “to synthesize” is the thing that is made.If you agree with the above definitions of the terms, please review the use of the terms “integration” and “synthesis” in this paper.Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)Thank you very much for indicating this interesting point. As you say, the center of “integration” is the “process” of combining the elements, while “synthesis” can be considered the act of “precisely adjusting” the interaction among the elements concurrently with “integration” “toward some objective.” The use of the terms were reviewed from this perspective, and when we refer to “synthesis and integration” in the paper, we reversed the order and said “integration and synthesis.”4 Relationship among the elements and fractal structureComment (Akira Ono)Figure 1 shows the three basic types of synthesis. The diagrams that show the relationship between the elemental technologies and the integrated technologies represent the mutual logical relationship, and they don’t necessarily represent the anterior-posterior relationship on the time axis (i.e. time flows along the direction of the arrow). On the other hand, the “spiral” in Fig. 3, “circulation” in Fig. 6, and “feedback” in Figs. 9 and 12 seem to be concepts that represent the anterior-posterior relationship on the time axes.Also, as shown in Fig. 2, the technological system generally has a multilayer structure, and the integrated technology in the lower level may be repositioned as an elemental technology as it moves to the upper level. In the “fractal structure” in Fig. 12, the relationships between the elemental and integrated technologies seem to be similar to each other regardless of the scale of the phenomena, and have the same logical structures. Also in Fig. 3, it seems that small Full Research develops spirally and becomes larger Full Research in the upper level. Do the authors agree with this view?Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)I think it is as you indicated. The relationship diagram in Fig. 1 does show the anterior-posterior relationship on the time axis. For example, in the case of the breakthrough type, after a certain important elemental technology is created, it may become an integrated technology through addition of the peripheral technologies. However, the peripheral technology may already be in existence, and it does not show a structure with clear temporal flow as in the “feedback.” The fractal structure is as you indicated where the integrated technology in the lower level might be positioned again as an elemental technology in the upper level. A similar structure can be seen in the case of Full Research.5 Content of aufheben typeComment (Kanji Ueda)In chapter 2, it is stated that the aufheben type is when there are two theses that are in pro-con relationship, a new concept is created through sublation. However, in the similar issues of science and technology, rather than the sublation of strictly opposing antinomy as stated in Hegelian philosophy, I think there are many cases where the opposition entails conflict, trade off, or overall optimization problem among multiple (not necessarily two) elements. I think it will be easier for the readers to understand if you explain the basic types in terms, not only of concept, but of “structure,” “element,” “requirement,” “function,” or “entity.” Please quote any references in which the authors discussed the basic types.Answer (Naoto Kobayashi)As you indicated, the aufheben type described here includes the issues of conflict, trade off, and overall optimization of multiple elements, rather than the sublation of strictly opposing antinomy. We did wonder whether the word aufheben should be used, but we came to a decision when we were considering the example where the combination of two technologies that have very different characteristics and may not coexist together led to an advanced integrated technology. One example is Reference  “A challenge to the low-cost production of highly functional optical elements” by Nishii. In this research, the integration of “structures” was done through the glass mold method and the imprinting method. Developing this way of thinking, we have employed the wide-ranging meaning of the “complex synthesis method among multiple elements for which integration and synthesis were considered difficult.” Also, I added the description in chapter 2, that it includes the “structure,” “element,” “requirement,” “function,” or “entity,” rather than being a mere concept.The description of the basic types was not published in an earlier paper, but it was first presented by one of the authors (Kobayashi) in the discussion with Professor Lester in Reference .