“Once upon a time” philosophy of science: Sts, science policy and the semantic view of scientific theories [Book Review]

Axiomathes 19 (4):465-480 (2009)
Is a policy-friendly philosophy of science possible? In order to respond this question, I consider a particular instance of contemporary philosophy of science, the semantic view of scientific theories, by placing it in the broader methodological landscape of the integration of philosophy of science into STS (Science and Technology Studies) as a component of the overall contribution of the latter to science policy. In that context, I defend a multi-disciplinary methodological integration of the special discipline composing STS against a reductionist interdisciplinary unification, arguing that if STS wants to contribute to policy advising by constructing narratives of science practice feasible for science policy both in terms of descriptive completeness and intelligibility, then it must avoid the explanatory reductionism tendencies of special disciplines in interdisciplinary contexts. This would favour, at the same time, a relaxation of esoteric language. On this basis, it seems that the semantic view is one right candidate among other approaches in the philosophy of science for facilitating the integration of the methodologically different contributions to STS toward policy objectives. In fact, besides offering a more realistic and descriptively complete picture of science practice with respect to its predecessor in the philosophy of science, namely the syntactic view, the semantic view is also able to capture some aspects of science practice that elude even sociological approaches to STS, thus inviting different perspective on the same subject matter.
Keywords Interdisciplinarity  Multidisciplinarity  Philosophy of science  Semantic view  Science and technology studies  Science policy
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-009-9083-2
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