Ideals and monisms: recent criticisms of the Strong Programme in the sociology of knowledge

I offer a reply to criticisms of the Strong Programme presented by Stephen Kemp who develops some new lines of argument that focus on the ‘monism’ of the programme. He says the programme should be rejected for three reasons. First, because it embodies ‘weak idealism’, that is, its supporters effectively sever the link between language and the world. Second, it challenges the reasons that scientists offer in explanation of their own beliefs. Third, it destroys the distinction between successful and unsuccessful instrumental action. Kemp is careful to produce quotations from the supporters of the programme as evidence to support his case. All three points deserve and are given a detailed response and the interpretation of the quoted material plays a significant role in the discussion. My hope is that careful exegesis will offset the numerous misinterpretations that are current in the philosophical literature. Particular attention is paid to what is said about the normative standards involved in the application of empirical concepts. The operation of these standards in the face of the negotiability of all concepts is explored and misapprehensions on the topic are corrected. The work of Wittgenstein, Popper, Kuhn and Hesse is used to illustrate these themes.Keywords: Strong Programme; Social constructionism; Idealism; Monism; Finitism; Relativism
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2006.12.003
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References found in this work BETA
D. Bloor (1999). Anti-Latour. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 30 (1):81-112.

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Citations of this work BETA
Stephen Kemp (2007). Concepts, Anomalies and Reality: A Response to Bloor and Fehér. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 38 (1):241-253.

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