Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a broad, interdisciplinary, and rapidly growing field that explores the relationship between science, technology and the ways they shape society and our understanding of the world. But as the field has become more established, it has increasingly hidden its philosophical roots. While the trend is typical of disciplines striving for maturity, Steve Fuller, a leading figure in the field, argues that STS has much to lose if it abandons philosophy. He argues that the (...) discipline is rooted in a variety of philosophical assumptions that, until now, have remained unarticulated, undefended and misunderstood. In his characteristically provocative style, he offers the first sustained treatment of the philosophical foundations of STS and suggests fruitful avenues for further research. With stimulating discussions of the Science Wars, the Intelligent Design Theory controversy, and theorists such as Donna Haraway and Bruno Latour, Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies is destined to become required reading for students and scholars in STS and the philosophy of science. (shrink)
This is the follow-up book to the notorious Sokal Hoax. It includes the original article that appeared in the Spring 1996 issue of Social Text, along with an explication of all the relatively minor errors and jokes planted in the article that would have been caught by the cognoscenti in physics. That alone has been sufficient to attract global media attention about the alleged lack of quality control in cultural studies scholarship. However, Sokal and Bricmont are out for bigger game. (...) They want to trace these lapses from professionalism to a relativist philosophical sensibility, which in turn is held responsible for the dissipation of the US academic left. Since I have dealt with the larger aspects of this thesis elsewhere (Fuller, 1999), I shall largely confine myself to the 'intermezzo' chapter four, where relativism is attacked directly on what are alleged to be philosophical grounds. (shrink)
It is now generally accepted that the nature of human thought has much to do with the structure and function of the human body. In Spirituality in the Flesh, Robert C. Fuller investigates how our sensory organs, emotional programs, sexual sensibilities, and neural structures shape religious phenomena. Why is it that some religious traditions assign spiritual currency to pain? How do neurochemically-driven emotions such as fear shape our religious actions? What is the relationship between chemically altered states of consciousness (...) and religious innovation? The body has recently become a subject of investigation among scholars of religion. Many such studies focus on the concept of the body as a cultural construct. Whereas these treatments helpfully demonstrate how cultures construct ideas about the body, Fuller asks how the body itself influences religious concepts. Seeking to establish a middle ground between purely materialistic or humanistic arguments, he skillfully pairs scientific findings with religious truths. Both perspectives could learn from the other: Fuller takes scientific interpreters to task for failing to understand the inherently cultural aspects of embodied experience even as he chides most religion scholars for ignoring new knowledge about the biological substrates of human behavior. Comfortable with the language of scientific analysis and sympathetic to the inherently subjective aspects of religious events, Fuller introduces the biological study of religion by joining our unprecedented understanding of bodily states with an experts knowledge of religious phenomena. Culling insights from scientific observations, historical allusions, and literary references, Spirituality in the Flesh provides fresh understandings that promise to enrich our appreciation of the embodied religious experience. (shrink)
First, I would like to thank Mike Thicke (2011) for his very perceptive and civil review of Science: The Art of Living. He himself alludes to the difficulty that reviewers have had with my previous books defending intelligent design as a necessary condition for the possibility of science, a point I have discussed in this journal (Fuller 2008b). Fuller (2010) has no less polarised reviewers. Here readers are invited to contrast the rather sophisticated critical review of Science that (...) has already appeared in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (Fagan 2011) and the bigoted one in Quarterly Review of Biology (Malaterre 2011), which ascribes to me views I make a point of denying. Both reviews appeared in high-profile venues in their respective fields and both were written by younger people trained in both philosophy and biology. I am happy to let future historians sort this one out. (shrink)
Beginning with Emerson and the Transcendentalists, Americans have tended to view the unconscious as the psychological faculty through which individuals might come to experience a higher spiritual realm. On the whole, American psychologists see the unconscious as a symbol of harmony, restoration and revitalization, imbuing it with the capacity to restore peace between the individual and an immanent spiritual power. Americans and the Unconscious studies the symbolic dimensions of American psychology, tracing the historical development of the concept of the unconscious (...) from its early formulations in nineteenth-century theology through its elaboration by the major schools of contemporary academic psychology. In the process, it provides portraits of William James, early American "Freudians" and the "Neo-Freudians," New Psychology, and humanistic psychologies. Fuller draws attention to the ways in which the concept of the unconscious--while originating in the world of scientific discourse--symbolizes philosophical and religious interpretations of human nature, and shows how the "American unconscious" helps locate the development of psychological ideas within the broader contexts of American religious and intellectual history. (shrink)
The simple substitution property provides a systematic and easy method for proving a theorem by an axiomatic way. The notion of the property was introduced in Hosoi  but without a definite name and he showed three examples of the axioms with the property. Later, the property was given it's name as above in Sasaki .Our main result here is that the necessary and sufficient condition for a logicL on a finite slice to have the simple substitution property is (...) thatL is finite. Here the necessity part is essentially new, for the sufficiency part has been proved in Hosoi and Sasaki . Also the proof of sufficiency part is improved here. (shrink)
In this paper I make more explicit a position that I have being advocating for more than two decades (gathered together in Fuller 2002, Fuller 2010), though its full force does not seem to have been felt. I write in defence of the *commodification* rather than the simple *commercialisation* of knowledge. The two italicised terms are often spoken about in the same breath—and, to be sure, they are related to each other. But they are not the same. Commercialisation (...) refers to the subjection of social life to the price mechanism, something that Adam Smith believed happened spontaneously, if it was not impeded by churches and states. And while Smith’s celebration of commercial culture makes him the philosophical father of capitalism, he would probably not approve of capitalism’s long-term tendency to turn aggregated versions of these spontaneous exchanges into objects that are themselves subject to exchange relations, which is commodification. Nevertheless, it is precisely in this sense of ‘commodification’ that I defend the university as a producer of knowledge as a public good, both in terms of teaching and research. I place the shi from commercialisation to commodification in a larger historical context first clearly identified by Ernst Cassirer – namely, a shi in metaphysical consciousness that accompanied the treatment of substances as the bearers of functions, which is associated with the introduction of algebra as a unifying principle of mathematical reasoning in the early modern era, initially through Descartes, which then became the basis of the modern physical world-view. (shrink)
The relevance of Fuller's version of social epistemology to argumentation theory is highlighted, in response to critics who claim that I am not sufficiently critical of the social grounds of knowledge production. Responding to Lyne, I first consider the strengths and weaknesses of relying on economic images to capture the social. Then, I tackle two contrary objections: Brian Baigrie claims social epistemology is “not social enough,” while Angelo Corlett wonders whether it may be “too social.” Finally, I counter Malcolm (...) Ashmore, who argues that social epistemology is not sensitive to reflexive implications of its own doctrines. I conclude that a rhetoric needs to be forged that enables those wishing to transform knowledge production to make their case plausibly to those whose behavior needs to be changed most. At the moment, science critics preach to the converted, a fate that the social epistemologist should not wish to share. (shrink)
In this paper we defend a direct reference theory of names. We maintain that the meaning of a name is its bearer. In the case of vacuous names, there is no bearer and they have no meaning. We develop a unified theory of names such that one theory applies to names whether they occur within or outside fiction. Hence, we apply our theory to sentences containing names within fiction, sentences about fiction or sentences making comparisons across fictions. We then defend (...) our theory against objections and compare our view to the views of Currie, Walton, and others. (shrink)
Thomas Pogge and Andrew Kuper suggest that we should promote an ‘institutional’ solution to global poverty. They advocate the institutional solution because they think that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can never be the primary agents of justice in the long run. They provide several standard criticisms of NGO aid in support of this claim. However, there is a more serious problem for institutional solutions: how to generate enough goodwill among rich nation-states that they would be willing to commit themselves to supranational (...) institutional reforms. In the current international political climate, the implementation of such institutional reforms introduces several intractable problems, including difficulties of global coordination and enforcement. I defend the solution of NGO aid from the criticisms presented by Pogge and Kuper, and propose how it might be reformed. My main suggestion is that all practising NGOs should be required to be ‘accountable for reasonableness’ in the sense that Norman Daniels and James Sabin have outlined. (shrink)
This essay is intended to be a systematic exposition and critique of Daniel Dennett's general views. It is divided into three main sections. In section 1 we raise the question of the nature of a plausible scientific psychology, and suggest that the question of whether folk psychology will serve as an adequate scientific psychology is of special relevance in a discussion of Dennett. We then characterize folk psychology briefly. We suggest that Dennett's views have undergone at least one major change, (...) and proceed to discuss both his earlier and his later views. In section 2 we suggest that Dennett is correctly perceived as an instrumentalist in his earlier works. We think that Dennett later abandons this position because of general worries about instrumentalism and, more importantly, because Dennett became convinced that an instrumentalist conception of folk psychology will not enable us to vindicate the notions of personhood, moral agency, and responsibility. This left Dennett with a dilemma. On the one hand, he does not think that beliefs, etc., will turn out to be genuine scientific posits. On the other hand, he thinks that moral agency would be impossible if we could not treat beliefs, etc. as causally efficacious in some suitable sense. In section 3 we discuss Dennett's resolution of this dilemma. The key to his current view, we suggest, is the illata-abstracta distinction. Dennett holds that both illata and abstracta are real and have causal powers, even though only illata are genuine scientific posits. He suggests that beliefs etc. are abstracta, and are the subject matter of what he calls 'intentional system theory'. The subject matter of another theory, what Dennett calls 'subpersonal cognitive psychology', are illata, which are subpersonal intentional states. The important point is that this distinction lets Dennett have it both ways: (i) Since beliefs are mere abstracta, we need not commit ourselves to the thesis that beliefs will turn out to be posits of an adequate scientific psychology. (ii) Since beliefs have causal power, we are assured of moral and rational agency. We shall argue that Dennett's current view is untenable. If we are right in our arguments, then Dennett's program to produce a scientifically plausible psychology, one that will turn out to vindicate folk psychology (in some suitable sense), is a failure. It fails in the following important ways: (i) What Dennett sketches -- intentional system theory cum subpersonal cognitive psychology -- is not a plausible scientific psychology. (ii) As a consequence, Dennett also fails to provide a satisfactory foundation for moral and rational agency. (shrink)
The movement of epistemic standards closer to moral virtue reflects a worrisome trend in the recent renascence of naturalism in philosophy that links access to truth with a deepening sense of the knower's history. While it is relatively harmless to insist that mastery of a scientific specialty requires training in certain techniques, it is more problematic (pace Kuhn) to insist that all such specialists share the same disciplinary narrative -- and still more problematic to require that they pledge allegiance to (...) the same philosophical world-view, say, what the US National Academy of Sciences calls "methodological naturalism." It makes for bad philosophy, bad science, and bad politics. Yet, we seem to be sliding down this slippery slope, which in the past has led to loyalty oaths and in the future could lead to the genetic profiling of people as unfit for scientific endeavors because of their propensity to belief in, say, the supernatural. (shrink)
This paper lays the groundwork for normative-yet-naturalistic social epistemology. I start by presenting two scenarios for the history of epistemology since Kant, one in which social epistemology is the natural outcome and the other in which it represents a not entirely satisfactory break with classical theories of knowledge. Next I argue that the current trend toward naturalizing epistemology threatens to destroy the distinctiveness of the sociological approach by presuming that it complements standard psychological and historical approaches. I then try to (...) reassert, in Comtean fashion, the epistemologist's credentials in regulating knowledge production. Finally, I consider how social epistemology may have something exciting and relevant to say about contemporary debates in the theory of knowledge. (shrink)
Michael Oakeshott reflected on the character of religious experience in various writings throughout his life. In Experience and Its Modes (1933) he analyzed science as a distinctive "mode," or account of experience as a whole, identifying those assumptions necessary for science to achieve its coherent account of experience in contrast to other modes of experience whose quests for coherence depend on different assumptions. Religious experience, he thought, was integral to the practical mode. The latter experiences the world as interminable tension (...) between what is and what ought to be. The question, Is there a conflict between science and religion? is, in Oakeshott's approach, the question, Is there a conflict between the scientific mode of experience and the practical mode? Insofar as we tend to treat every question as a practical one, these questions seem to make sense. But Oakeshott's analysis leads to the view that scientific experience and religious experience are categorically different accounts of experience abstracted from the whole of experience. They are voices of experience that may speak to each other, but they are not ordered hierarchically. Nor can either absorb the other without insoluble contradictions. (shrink)
This volume explores Science & Technology Studies (STS) and its role in redrawing disciplinary boundaries. For scholars/grad students in rhetoric of science, science studies, philosophy & comm, English, sociology & knowledge mgmt.
Richard Rorty's recent death has unleashed a strikingly mixed judgment of his philosophical legacy, ranging from claims to originality to charges of charlatanry. What is clear, however, is Rorty's role in articulating a distinctive American voice in the history of philosophy. He achieved this not only through his own wide-ranging contributions but also by repositioning the pragmatists, especially William James and John Dewey, in the philosophical mainstream. Rorty did for the United States what Hegel and Heidegger had done for Germany—to (...) portray his nation as philosophy's final resting place. He was helped by postwar German philosophers like Jürgen Habermas who were happy to defer to their American conquerors. Rorty's philosophical method can be understood as a sublimation of America's world-historic self-understanding: a place suspicious of foreigners unless they are willing to blend into the "melting pot." In retrospect, the breadth and confidence of Rorty's writing will come to symbolize the moment when the United States, for better or worse, came to be the world's dominant philosophical power. Key Words: Rorty pragmatism logical positivism analytic philosophy. (shrink)
This article presents the case of an HIV-positive client who reported having sexual relations with an unknowing partner. The issue raised is whether the therapist was required to warn the unknowing partner, similar to the Tarasoff mandate that is imposed on therapists. The case is analyzed from an ethical framework similar to that presented by Beauchamp and Childress (1994). Two opinions are presented, each leading to different conclusions about whether the therapist should inform the unknowing partner. It is concluded that (...) although such analysis is valuable in aiding the therapist in his or her decision-making process, no clear professional standard for the management of the problem is evident. (shrink)
Research in Science and Technology Studies (STS) tends to presume that intellectual and political radicalism go hand in hand. One would therefore expect that the most intellectually radical movement in the field relates critically to its social conditions. However, this is not the case, as demonstrated by the trajectory of the Parisian School of STS spearheaded by Michel Callon and Bruno Latour. Their position, "actor-network theory," turns out to be little more than a strategic adaptation to the democratization of expertise (...) and the decline of the strong nation-state in France over the past 25 years. This article provides a prehistory of this client-driven, contract-based research culture in U.S. sociology of the 1960s, followed by specific features of French philosophical and political culture that have bred the distinctive tenets of actor-network theory. Insofar as actor-network theory has become the main paradigm for contemporary STS research, it reflects a field that dodges normative commitments in order to maintain a user-friendly presence. (shrink)
This paper investigates links between social capital and symbolic capital and responsible entrepreneurship in the context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The source of the primary data was 144 ‘Business Profiles’, written by the owner-managers of small businesses in application for a Small Business Awards competition in 2005. Included in each of these narratives were claims relating to the firms’ contributions to wider society, relationships with customers, employees and stakeholders. These narratives were coded and classified in a framework drawn (...) from Nahapiet and Ghoshal’s (1998, Academy of Management Review 23(2), 242–266) categorisation of social capital. The analysis revealed a range of strategic orientations towards the development of social and symbolic capital, along a conceptual continuum ranging from being responsible for oneself to being responsible for others. Overall, the evidence demonstrates the significance of the power inherent in the social relations of SMEs as a force for ethical behaviour, and suggests that normative theories of the development of social capital may provide ‘competitive advantage’ through responsible behaviour for small business in the global economy. (shrink)
Non-governmental aid programs are an important source of health care for many people in the developing world. Despite the central role non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play in the delivery of these vital services, for the most part they either lack formal systems of accountability to their recipients altogether, or have only very weak requirements in this regard. This is because most NGOs are both self-mandating and self-regulating. What is needed in terms of accountability is some means by which all the relevant (...) stakeholders can have their interests represented and considered. An ideally accountable decision-making process for NGOs should identify acceptable justifications and rule out unacceptable ones. Thus, the point of this paper is to evaluate three prominent types of justification given for decisions taken at the Dutch headquarters of Médecins sans Frontières. They are: population health justifications, mandate based justifications and advocacy-based justifications. The central question at issue is whether these justifications are sufficiently robust to answer the concerns and objections that various stakeholders may have. I am particularly concerned with the legitimacy these justifications have in the eyes of project beneficiaries. I argue that special responsibilities to certain communities can arise out of long-term engagement with them, but that this type of priority needs to be constrained such that it does not exclude other potential beneficiaries to an undesirable extent. Finally, I suggest several new institutional mechanisms that would enhance the overall equity of decisions and so would ultimately contribute to the legitimacy of the organization as a whole. (shrink)
Tthis book is likely to receive its warmest reception form advanced students of the philosophy of law, who will welcome the relief provided from the frequently sterile tone of much recent work in the field.
This last of three articles on Structuralism and Post-structuralism attempts to do four things: (1) to summarize the dispute between Structuralism and Post-structuralism about the stability of meaning; (2) to present three criticisms of Derrida’s dissemination; (3) to assess the worth of these criticisms; and (4) to offer some concluding remarks on Structuralism and Post-structuralism.
Although Wes Shrum advertised my critics as representing quite distinct points of view, they nevertheless managed to converge on a set of concerns that revolve around the meanings of "rhetoric," "politics," and "multiculturalism" in the project of social epistemology. Either the critics were not chosen correctly or the book under discussion is quite obviously flawed! Rather than make that Hobson's choice, I will address my critics' concerns in a way that I hope will prove illuminating to other normatively oriented theorists (...) in the social sciences who want to take the challenge of postmodernism seriously but who also realize that postmodernism may soon become the orthodoxy, rather than the challenger, in cultural politics. (shrink)
Nearly thirty years after the first stirrings of the Kuhnian revolution, history and philosophy of science continues to galvanize methodological discussions in all corners of the academy except its own. Evidence for this domestic stagnation appears in Warren Schmaus's thoughtful review of Social Epistemology in which Schmaus takes for granted that history of science is the ultimate court of appeal for disputes between philosophers and sociologists. As against this, this essay argues that such disputes may be better treated by experimental (...) psychology. Humanistic methods typically (though not always) blind the historian to cognitive biases and limitations that make it difficult for philosophers and sociologists to mobilize historical research for settling their differences. It is also observed that the failure of philosophers to incorporate the methods and findings of experiemental psychology is symptomatic of an artificially restrictive understanding of the normative dimension of their enterprise. (shrink)