Social Studies of Science 40 (1):127-44 (2010)
|Abstract||In this essay, I address a novel criticism recently levelled at the Strong Programme by Nick Tosh and Tim Lewens. Tosh and Lewens paint Strong Programme theorists as trading on a contrastive form of explanation. With this, they throw valuable new light on the explanatory methods employed by the Strong Programme. However, as I shall argue, Tosh and Lewens run into trouble when they accuse Strong Programme theorists of unduly restricting the contrast space in which legitimate historical and sociological explanations of scientific knowledge might be given. Their attack founders as a result of their failure to properly understand the overall methodological concerns of Strong Programme theorists. After introducing readers to the technique of contrastive explanation and correcting the errors in Tosh and Lewens’ interpretation of the Strong Programme, I argue that it is, in fact, Tosh and Lewens’ own commitment to scientific realism which places an unacceptable restriction on the explanatory space open to historians and sociologists of science. The happy ending is that the Strong Programme provides more freedom for analysis than does scientific realism, and that careful attention to the methodological benefits of contrastive explanation can help lighten the burden on historians and sociologists of science as they go about their explanatory business.|
|Keywords||contrastive explanation Strong Programme David Bloor Tim Lewens Nick Tosh|
|Through your library||Configure|
Similar books and articles
Si Sun (2007). A Critique of Relativism in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. Frontiers of Philosophy in China 2 (1):115-130.
Márta Fehér (1998). Bad Arguments Against a Good Case (Laudan's Attack on the Strong Programme). International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 12 (3):233-238.
Peter Slezak (1994). A Second Look at David Bloor's: Knowledge and Social Imagery. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 24 (3):336-361.
Samir Okasha (2000). The Underdetermination of Theory by Data and the "Strong Programme" in the Sociology of Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 14 (3):283 – 297.
Timm Triplett (1986). Relativism and the Sociology of Mathematics: Remarks on Bloor, Flew, and Frege. Inquiry 29 (1-4):439-450.
Angelo M. Petroni (1993). Conventionalism, Scientific Discovery and the Sociology of Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 7 (3):225 – 240.
Peter Slezak (1991). Bloor's Bluff: Behaviourism and the Strong Programme. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 5 (3):241 – 256.
Barbara Tuchańska (1990). Can Relativism Be Reconciled with Realism and Causalism? International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):285-294.
Stephen Kemp (2003). Toward a Monistic Theory of Science: The `Strong Programme' Reconsidered. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 33 (3):311-338.
Jeff Kochan (2008). Realism, Reliabilism, and the 'Strong Programme' in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 22 (1):21 – 38.
Added to index2010-01-25
Total downloads60 ( #15,931 of 549,013 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #37,272 of 549,013 )
How can I increase my downloads?