Instituting science: Discovery or construction of scientific knowledge?

Is knowledge in the natural sciences discovered or constructed? For objectivists, scientific knowledge is discovered through investigations into a mind-independent, natural world. For constructivists, such knowledge is produced through negotiations among members of a professional guild. I examine the clash between the two positions and propose that scientific knowledge is the concurrent outcome from investigations into a natural world and from consensus reached through negotiations of a professional guild. Specifically, I introduce the general methodological notion, instituting science, which incorporates both the discovery and the construction processes in the generation of scientific knowledge. To that end, I use a case study from the biomedical sciences to illustrate the notion. I conclude with a discussion of how this methodological notion helps to address the debate between objectivists and constructivists over the generation of scientific knowledge, and of how it compares with others who have also attempted to address the debate.
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DOI 10.1080/02698590802496755
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James A. Marcum (2011). Horizon for Scientific Practice: Scientific Discovery and Progress. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (2):187-215.

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