Sven Ove Hansson
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
It has been much debated whether epistemic relativism in academia, for instance in the form of social constructivism, the strong programme, deconstructionism, and postmodernism, has paved the way for the recent upsurge in science denial, in particular climate science denial. In order to provide an empirical basis for this discussion, an extensive search of the social science literature was performed. It showed that in the 1990s, climate science was a popular target among academic epistemic relativists. In particular, many STS scholars used it as an allegedly clear example of claims by natural scientists that should be treated as mere social constructions, rather than as reports on the actual state of the natural world. A few connections between social constructivists and corporate science denialism were also uncovered, but the extent of such connections could not be determined. With few exceptions, the stream of criticism of climate science from academic relativists has dwindled since the 1990s. One reason for this seems to be that the contrarian position lost its attraction when it became associated with corporate and right-wing propagandists.
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-020-00305-w
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Knowledge and Social Imagery.David Bloor - 1976 - University of Chicago Press.

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