Solomon has made the case, in Social Empicism (2001) for socially naturalized analysis of the dynamics of scientific inquiry that takes seriously two critical insights: that scientific rationality is contingent, disunified, and socially emergent; and that scientific progress is often fostered by factors traditionally regarded as compromising sources of bias. While elements of this framework are widely shared, Solomon intends it to be more resolutely social, more thoroughly naturalizing, and more ambitiously normative than other contextualizing epistemologies currently on offer. Four (...) focal issues are addressed in the commentaries that follow: Solomon's characterization of empirical success as a goal of science (Clough); her distinction between empirical and non-empirical decision vectors and the viability of the multivariate analysis she proposes for assessing epistemic fairness in their distribution (Clough; Richardson); the plausibility of her thesis that normatively appropriate consensus is a (rare) limiting case rather than an intrinsically desirable outcome of inquiry (Oreskes; Richardson); and her conviction that a socially naturalized analysis of science can ground norms of scientific rationality (Longino; Oreskes). (shrink)
Harding’s aim in Science and Social Inequality is to integrate the insights generated by diverse critiques of conventional ideals of truth, value freedom, and unity in science, and to chart a way forward for the sciences and for science studies. Wylie assesses this synthesis as a genre of social constructionist argument and illustrates its implications for questions of epistemic warrant with reference to transformative research on gender-based discrimination in the workplace environment.
It has long been thought that science is our best hope for realizing objective knowledge, but that, to deliver on this promise, it must be value free. Things are not so simple, however, as recent work in science studies makes clear. The contributors to this volume investigate where and how values are involved in science, and examine the implications of this involvement for ideals of objectivity.
In response to those who see rational deliberation as a source of epistemic norms and a model for well-functioning scientific inquiry, Solomon cites evidence that aggregative techniques often yield better results; deliberative processes are vulnerable to biasing mechanisms that impoverish the epistemic resources on which group judgments are based. I argue that aggregative techniques are similarly vulnerable and illustrate this in terms of the impact of gender schemas on both individual and collective judgment. A consistently externalist and socially naturalized approach (...) calls for symmetrical treatment of these strategies for capitalizing on what groups know. (shrink)
: As a working hypothesis for philosophy of science, the unity of science thesis has been decisively challenged in all its standard formulations; it cannot be assumed that the sciences presuppose an orderly world, that they are united by the goal of systematically describing and explaining this order, or that they rely on distinctively scientific methodologies which, properly applied, produce domain-specific results that converge on a single coherent and comprehensive system of knowledge. I first delineate the scope of arguments against (...) global unity theses. However implausible old-style global unity theses may now seem, I argue that unifying strategies of a more local and contingent nature do play an important role in scientific inquiry. This is particularly clear in archaeology where, to establish evidential claims of any kind, practitioners must exploit a range of inter-field and inter-theory connections. At the same time, the robustness of these evidential claims depends on significant disunity between the sciences from which archaeologists draw background assumptions and auxiliary hypotheses. This juxtaposition of unity with disunity poses a challenge to standard (polarized) positions in the debate about scientific unity. (shrink)
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has developed an extensive body of ethics guidelines for its members, most actively in the last two decades. This coincides with the period in which the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has taken a strong stand on the need for its affiliates to develop clear. enforceable codes of conduct. The ethics guidelines instituted by the SAA now realize the central recommendations of the AAAS, and in this they illustrate both the importance (...) and the limitations of these recommendations. (shrink)
There seems the prospect, at this juncture, of articulating programs of research in science studies that will be genuinely interdisciplinary, integrating philosophical, historical, and sociological/anthropological interests in science. This introduction describes the rationale for the symposium, "Discourse, Practice, Context," to which four contributors were invited whose work across disciplinary boundaries puts them in a position to take stock of these initiatives and their impact on existing disciplinary practice.
Several difficulties have been raised concerning applicability of Glymour's model to developing and "un-natural" sciences, those contexts in which he claims it should be most clearly instantiated. An analysis of testing in such a field, archaeology, indicates that while bootstrapping may be realized in general outline practice necessarily departs from the ideal in at least three important respects 1) testing is not strictly theory contained, 2) the theory-mediated inference from evidence to test hypothesis is not exclusively deductive and, (...) 3) structural considerations do not displace or take precedence over substantive considerations. These points of divergence reflect the fact that bootstrapping in developing and exploratory sciences is as much a process of theory construction as of theory testing. (shrink)