Path dependence in the production of scientific knowledge

Social Epistemology 23 (2):105 – 124 (2009)
Abstract
Despite its proliferation in technology studies, the concept of “path dependence” has scarcely been applied to epistemology. In this essay, I investigate path dependence in the production of scientific knowledge, first, by considering Kuhn's scattered remarks that lend support to a path-dependence thesis (Section I) and second by developing and criticising Kuhn's embryonic account (Sections II and III). I examine a case from high-energy physics that brings the path-dependent nature of scientific knowledge to the fore and I pay attention to two sources of path dependence—“theoretical” and “instrumental”. The latter source is particularly important in “big science”. I ask in Section IV whether path dependence in scientific knowledge can lead to circumstances like those in the technological field, in which a theory can come to dominate a scientific speciality even though it is inferior to alternatives. In Section V, I ask what implications my thesis has for science policy
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/02691720902962813
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,798
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge.Imre Lakatos & Alan Musgrave (eds.) - 1970 - Cambridge University Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Essential Tension.T. S. Kuhn - 1980 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 31 (4):359-375.
The Self-Vindication of the Laboratory Sciences.Ian Hacking - 1992 - In Andrew Pickering (ed.), Science as Practice and Culture. University of Chicago Press. pp. 29--64.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
A Model of Path-Dependence in Decisions Over Multiple Propositions.Christian List - 2004 - American Political Science Review 98 (3):495-513.
Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines.W. Y. Evans-Wentz - 1968 - New York [Etc.], Oxford University Press.
“Intrinsically” or Just “Instrumentally” Valuable? On Structural Types of Values of Scientific Knowledge.Peter P. Kirschenmann - 2001 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 32 (2):237-256.
Puzzles and Problems.Juan Urrutia Elejalde - 2008 - Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities 96 (1):49-70.
Rousseau on Dependence and the Formation of Political Society.David James - 2013 - European Journal of Philosophy 21 (3):343-366.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-05-07

Total downloads

26 ( #198,233 of 2,177,981 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #317,027 of 2,177,981 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums