David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Sociological Theory 18 (2):289-307 (2000)
The field of science studies is the site of an explicit reflection on the ontological premises of sociology, with rival approaches defined by distinctive ways of specifying the basic constituents of reality. This article takes advantage of this debate to compare three types of ontological schemes in terms of their internal coherence and their consequences for sociology. Sociological humanism-represented by proponents of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK)-distinguishes between an immanent domain of social relations, a transcendent and meaningless material reality, and an intermediate, socially constructed level of knowledge, meaning, and culture. Symmetrical humanism-as found in the recent writings of Andrew Pickering-insists that society too should be placed among the constructions, thereby disqualifying it as a source of explanations for human agency and leaving a detached and self-moving human agent. The relational ontology-exemplified by the "actor-network" approach of Bruno Latour and others-makes no a priori distinctions between humans and others, or between transcendent reality and construction, treating these properties as outcomes. The two humanist approaches are found to be incoherent as ontological schemes and also, contrary to the assumptions of the current debate, inimical to sociological explanation. And contrary to the antisociological stance of the actor-network approach, it is found that the relational ontology provides a consistent basis for sociological explanations of human practices
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Loet Leydesdorff (1992). The Knowledge Content of Science and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. Journal for General Philosophy of Science 23 (2):241-263.
E. Seguin (2000). Bloor, Latour, and the Field. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (3):503-508.
Milan Zafirovski (2011). Weber's Sociological Elements in Mises' Economics of Human Action. Social Epistemology 24 (2):75-98.
Jim Herrick (2003/2005). Humanism: An Introduction. Prometheus Books.
Massimiano Bucchi (2004). Science in Society: An Introduction to Social Studies of Science. Routledge.
John Stuart Mackenzie (1907/1971). Lectures on Humanism, with Special Reference to its Bearings on Sociology. New York,B. Franklin.
Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann (1966/1990). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Anchor Books.
Philip Kitcher (2000). Reviving the Sociology of Science. Philosophy of Science 67 (3):44.
Andrew Pickering (2000). The Objects of Sociology: A Response to Breslau's "Sociology After Humanism". Sociological Theory 18 (2):308-316.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads25 ( #74,007 of 1,101,902 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #68,243 of 1,101,902 )
How can I increase my downloads?