Drawing upon Marxist, French structuralist and American pragmatist traditions, this lively and accessible introduction to the sociology of knowledge gives to its classic texts a fresh reading, arguing that various bodies of knowledge operate within culture to create powerful cultural dispositions, meanings, and categories. It looks at the cultural impact of the forms and images of mass media, the authority of science, medicine, and law as bodies of contemporary knowledge and practice. Finally, it considers the concept of "engendered knowledge" through (...) a consideration of the complex and often troubled relationship between women and science. The sociology of knowledge has sometimes been marginalized as a narrow academic specialization. This lucid study reclaims it as an essential tool for all serious students of culture in all its forms. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive view of the work of scholars in several different disciplines contributing to the development of the psychology of science. This new field of inquiry is a systematic elaboration and application of psychological concepts and methods to clarify the nature of the scientific enterprise. While the psychology of science overlaps the philosophy, history, and sociology of science in important ways, its predominant focus is on individuals and small groups, rather than broad social institutions and concepts. The (...) introduction surveys the field and traces its evolution in a historical context. Several contributors address epistemological issues raised by the psychology of science. Subsequent chapters discuss developments in the cognitive psychology of science, scientific theory, and the influence of social relationships on scientists' work. The conclusion proposes an agenda for further progress in this new approach to understanding science. (shrink)
In this wide-ranging book, Brian Davies discusses the basis for scientists' claims to knowledge about the world. He looks at science historically, emphasizing not only the achievements of scientists from Galileo onwards, but also their mistakes. He rejects the claim that all scientific knowledge is provisional, by citing examples from chemistry, biology and geology. A major feature of the book is its defense of the view that mathematics was invented rather than discovered. A large number of examples are used to (...) illustrate these points, and many of the deep issues in today's world discussed-from psychology and evolution to quantum theory, consciousness and even religious belief. Disentangling knowledge from opinion and aspiration is a hard task, but this book provided a clear guide to the difficulties. (shrink)
The belief that science shows an accumulation of a body of objective knowledge has been widely challenged by philosophers and historians in the latter half of this century. In this treatise, Dr. Jardine defends this belief with a careful appreciation of the complexities involved, drawing on many controversial issues concerning truth in science, interpretation of past theories, and grounds of scientific method.
As historians of science increasingly turn to work on recent (post 1945) science, the historiographical and methodological problems associated with the history of contemporary science are debated with growing frequency and urgency. This book brings together authorities on the history, historiography and methodology of recent and contemporary science to review the problems facing historians of contemporary science, technology and medicine and to explore new ways forward. The chapters explore topics which will be of ever increasing interest to historians of postwar (...) science, including the difficulties of accessing and using secret archival material, the interactions between archivists, historians and scientists and the politics of evidence and historical accounts. (shrink)
This book argues for the need to put into practice a profound and comprehensive intellectual revolution, affecting to a greater or lesser extent all branches of scientific and technological research, scholarship and education. This intellectual revolution differs, however, from the now familiar kind of scientific revolution described by Kuhn. It does not primarily involve a radical change in what we take to be knowledge about some aspect of the world, a change of paradigm. Rather it involves a radical change in (...) the fundamental, overall intellectual aims and methods of inquiry. At present inquiry is devoted to the enhancement of knowledge. This needs to be transformed into a kind of rational inquiry having as its basic aim to enhance personal and social wisdom. This new kind of inquiry gives intellectual priority to the personal and social problems we encounter in our lives as we strive to realize what is desirable and of value – problems of knowledge and technology being intellectually subordinate and secondary. For this new kind of inquiry, it is what we do and what we are that ultimately matters: our knowledge is but an aspect of our life and being. (shrink)
This text provides an overview of debates in the sociology of technology, including definitions of the main terms and concepts and discussion of the dominant positions, especially in recent scholarship. At the same time, it develops a novel perspective on the subject based in critical theory, bridging work in the sociology of science and technology with wider debate in social theory. It integrates empirical and theoretical elements in well-themed chapters and draws on interesting contemporary examples such as mobile phones and (...) computer games to offer a distinctive sociological perspective on an important dimension of social life. (shrink)
Lakatos, I. History of science and its rational reconstructions.--Clark, P. Atomism vs. thermodynamics.--Worrall, J. Thomas Young and the "rufutation" of Newtonian optics.--Musgrave, A. Why did oxygen supplant phlogiston?--Zahar, E. Why did Einstein's programme supersede Lorentz's?--Frické, M. The rejection of Avogadro's hypotheses.--Feyerabend, P. On the critique of scientific reason.
While acknowledging its theory-ladeness, Chalmers (history and philosophy, U. of Sydney) defends the objectivity of scientific knowledge against those critics for whom such knowledge is both subjective and ideological.
Scientific uncertainty puzzles many people. The puzzlement arises when scientists have more than one answer, and disagree among themselves. This book helps people find their way through this maze of scientific contradiction and uncertainty. By acquainting them with the ways that uncertainty arises in science, how scientists accommodate and make use of uncertainty, and how they reach conclusions in the face of uncertainty, the book enables readers to confidently evaluate uncertainty from their own perspectives, in terms of their own experiences.
Bringing together important writings not easily available elsewhere, this volume provides a convenient and stimulating overview of recent work in the philosophy of science. The contributors include Paul Feyerabend, Ian Hacking, T.S. Kuhn, Imre Lakatos, Laurens Laudan, Karl Popper, Hilary Putnam, and Dudley Shapere. In addition, Hacking provides an introductory essay and a selective bibliography.
Introduction: Scandals of Knowledge -- Pre-Post-Modern Relativism -- Netting Truth: Ludwik Fleck's Constructivist Genealogy -- Cutting-Edge Equivocation: Conceptual Moves and Rhetorical Strategies in Contemporary Anti-Epistemology -- Disciplinary Cultures and Tribal Warfare: The Sciences and the Humanities Today -- Super Natural Science: The Claims of Evolutionary Psychology -- Animal Relatives, Difficult Relations.
What is science? How is scientific knowledge affected by the society that produces it? Does scientific knowledge directly correspond to reality? Can we draw a line between science and pseudo-science? Will it ever be possible for computers to undertake scientific investigation independently? Is there such a thing as feminist science? In this book the author addresses questions such as these using a technique of 'cognitive play', which creates and explores new links between the ideas and results of contemporary history, philosophy, (...) and sociology of science. New ideas and approaches are applied to a wide range of case studies, many of them from controversial and contested science. This book will be of interest to historians and sociologists of science, to anyone interested in science studies, and to educated general readers with an interest in the history, philosophy, and social context of science. (shrink)
Hume and the problem of theory and practice in philosophy and political theory -- Hume's naturalism and skepticism in the treatise and his appeal from theory to practice -- The systematic theory of theory of the treatise of human nature -- The behaviorist theory of practice of the treatise -- The practical philosophies of skepticism and commercial humanism -- The common sense theory of theory of the enquiries, essays, and history of England -- The common sense theory of practice of (...) the later works -- Hume, theory, and practice today. (shrink)
When physicist Alan Sokal recently submitted an article to the postmodernist journal Social Text, the periodical's editors were happy to publish it--for here was a respected scientist offering support for the journal's view that science is a subjective, socially constructed discipline. But as Sokal himself soon revealed in Lingua Franca magazine, the essay was a spectacular hoax--filled with scientific gibberish anyone with a basic knowledge of physics should have caught--and the academic world suddenly awoke to the vast gap that has (...) opened between the scientific community and their mould-be critics. But the truth is that not only postmodern critics but Americans in general have a weak grasp on scientific principles and facts. In Connected Knowledge, physicist Alan Cromer offers a way to bridge the chasm, with a lively, lucid account of scientific thinking and a provocative new agenda for American education. Science, Cromer argues, is anything but common sense: It requires a particular habit of mind that does not come naturally. For example, something as simple as buoyancy can only be explained through Archimedes' principle--that a body in a fluid is subject to an upward force equal to the weight of fluid it displaces--yet few scientists could arrive at this ancient concept by trial and error. School children, however, are often given a ball and a tank of water, and asked to explain buoyancy any way they can. Today's de emphasis on teaching pupils necessary facts and principles, he argues, "far from empowering them, makes them slaves of their own subjective opinions." This movement in education, known as Constructivism, has close ties to postmodern critics (such as the editors of Social Text) who question the objectivity of science, and with it the existence of an objective reality. Cromer offers a ringing defense of the knowability of the world, both as an objective reality and as a finite landscape of discovery. The advance of scientific knowledge, he argues, is not unlike the mapping of the continents; at this point, we have found them all. He shows how the advent of quantum mechanics, rather than making knowledge less certain, actually offers a more precise understanding of the behavior of atoms and electrons. Turning from philosophy to education, he argues that instead of allowing students to flounder, however creatively, schools should follow a progressive curriculum that returns theoretical knowledge to the classroom. Connected Knowledge, however, goes much farther. As a discipline that insists upon connecting theory with measurable reality, physical science offers a new direction for reforming the social sciences. Cromer also shows how some of the hottest issues in public policy--including the debates over special education and group variations in I.Q., can be resolved through clear, hard headed thinking. For example, he argues for use of the G.E.D. as a national educational standard, with a new "politics of intelligence" to guide the distribution of school resources. Always forthright and articulate, Alan Cromer offers a startling new vision for integrating science, philosophy, and education. (shrink)