Socialscience employs teleological explanations which depend upon the rationality principle, according to which people exhibit instrumental rationality. Popper points out that people also exhibit critical rationality, the tendency to stand back from, and to question or criticise, their views. I explain how our critical rationality impugns the explanatory value of the rationality principle and thereby threatens the very possibility of socialscience. I discuss the relationship between instrumental and critical rationality and show how we can (...) reconcile our critical rationality with the possibility of socialscience if we invoke Popper’s conception of limited rationality and his indeterminism. (shrink)
The relation between ethics and socialscience is often conceived as complementary, both disciplines cooperating in the solution of concrete moral problems. Against this, the paper argues that not only applied ethics but even certain parts of general ethics have to incorporate sociological and psychological data and theories from the start. Applied ethics depends on socialscience in order to asses the impact of its own principles on the concrete realities which these principles are to regulate (...) as well as in order to propose practice rules suited to adapt these principles to their respective contexts of application. Examples from medical ethics (embryo research) and ecological ethics (Leopold's land ethic) illustrate both the contingence of practice rules in relation to their underlying basic principles and the corresponding need for a co-operation between philosophy and empirical disciplines in judging their functional merits and demerits. In conclusion, the relevance of empirical hypotheses even for some of the perennial problems of ethics is shown by clarifying the role played by empirical theories in the controversies about the ethical differentiation between positive and negative responsibility and the relation between utility maximisation and (seemingly) independent criteria of distributive justice in the context of social distributions. (shrink)
A synthesis of the two theoretical bases of business ethics-normative philosophy and descriptive socialscience-is called for. Examples from the literature are used to demonstrate that to ignore the descriptive aspects of moral behavior is to risk unreal philosophy, and that to ignore the normative aspects is to risk amoral socialscience. Business ethics is portrayed as a single unified field, in which fact-value distinctions are inappropriate.
Social scientists often lament the fact that philosophically trained ethicists pay limited attention to the insights they generate. This paper presents an overview of tendencies in sociological and anthropological studies of morality, ethics and bioethics, and suggests that a lack in philosophical interest might be related to a tendency among social scientists to employ either a deficit model (socialscience perspectives accommodate the sense of context that philosophical ethics lacks), a replacement model (social scientists have (...) finally found the “right way” of doing ethics), or a dismissal model (ethics should be abandoned all together as a misconstrued veil of power). Increased awareness of differences in styles of reasoning and objects of research interest might help to overcome the hostility, and an anthropological project is presented as an invitation to a dialogue informed by awareness of such differences. (shrink)
It is the contention of this paper that the majority of scholars deal with a simplified notion of Schutz’s understanding of socialscience. Specifically they tend to view Schutz’s understanding of socialscience as containing only three postulates: logical consistency, subjective interpretation, and adequacy. However, such considerations tend to focus primarily upon “Common-Sense and Scientific Interpretation of Human Action” and only engage with Schutz’s other essays in a tertiary manner. This paper argues that only by giving (...) due attention to Schutz’s other work does it become clear what his full understanding socialscience is. A full picture must necessarily take into account the postulate of relevance or disinterestedness, postulate of clarity, and postulate of compatibility or tested observation. This paper will clarify the relationship of all these postulates which will necessarily require a number of amendments in order to achieve the greatest clarity possible. (shrink)
The article analyzes the integration of a module on nanotechnology, ethics, and policy into a required second-year socialscience course at a technological university. It investigates not simply the effectiveness of student learning about the technical aspects of nanotechnology but about how issues explored in an interdisciplinary socialscience course might influence student opinions about the potential of nanotechnology to benefit the developing world. The authors find a correlation between student opinions about the risks and benefits (...) of nanotechnology for the developing world with their judgment of whether nanotechnology fits comparative, historical models for development. (shrink)
What might it be to write a post-colonial socialscience? And how might the intellectual legacy of Chinese classical philosophy—for instance Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu—contribute to such a project? Reversing the more usual socialscience practice in which EuroAmerican concepts are applied in other global locations, this paper instead considers how a “Chinese” term, _shi_ might be used to explore the UK’s 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic. Drawing on anthropological insights into mis/translation between different worlds and their (...) alternative ways of knowing and being, the paper explores that epidemic in three differently inspired _shi_-inflected “empirical” accounts. The first uses Sun Tzu’s strategic understanding of _shi_ to tell a conventionally representational story. The second resists the causes and background factors implied in standard socialscience by offering a “light” and _shi_-inflected form of knowing. And the third combines the referentiality of socialscience with a Lao Tzu-informed commitment to the paradoxes of normative epigram. This third narrative thus illustrates the possible features of a situated and _shi_-inflected socialscience that recognizes that it participates in the contexted and immanent flows and counterflows of things in the world. The paper concludes by noting that such a _shi_-inflected socialscience is experimental, and suggests that it is important to explore a range of ways of reversing the flow of concepts between EuroAmerica and other global locations. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to explore some of the non-obvious characteristics of the socialscience research-social policy paradigm. We examine some of the underlying assumptions of the readily accepted claim that socialscience research can lead to the creation of rational social policy. We begin by using the framework of meta-analysis as one of the most powerful means of informing policy by way of empirical research findings. This approach is critiqued and found (...) wanting in several ways. Several conceptual and definitional issues connected to the term “policy” are explored as well. A central argument is that even the best socialscience research is no guarantee of enlightened policymaking because the very basis of empirical research militates against the possibility of going from research findings to policy. This claim is explored within the context of a central paradox. This paradox is explored in some depth. Finally, within the SSRSP claim, we analyze related issues such as the possibility of utilizing Mixed Methods and the politics of policymaking. We conclude that the SSRSP framework is, at best, a subjective one which ironically is needed, but one which is constrained by the very methods that is uses to formulate policy. (shrink)
This collection focuses on virtue theory and the ethics of socialscience research. A moral philosophy that has been relatively neglected in the domain of research ethics, virtue ethics has much to offer those who wish to go beyond the difficulties generated by the biomedical model of research ethics and positively engage with the ethics of social scientific research. As the chapters contained in this volume show, the perspective provided by virtue ethics also exhibits a certain affinity (...) with the emerging discourse regarding research integrity. Contributors develop various facets of virtue ethics in order to illuminate a range of issues in the practice and governance of socialscience, including integrity, the ethics of ethical review, ethics education, and the notion of phrónēsis (wisdom). (shrink)
The central aim of this thesis is to confront the world-view of positivistic materialism with its nihilistic implications and to develop an alternative world-view based on process philosophy, showing how in terms of this, science and ethics can be reconciled. The thesis begins with an account of the rise of positivism and materialism, or ‘scientism’, to its dominant position in the culture of Western civilization and shows what effect this has had on the image of man and consequently on (...) ethical views. After having shown the basic weaknesses of this world-view, the positivist account of science is criticised and an alternative epistemology is developed in which the aim of disciplined inquiry is seen to be understanding. It is argued on the basis of this epistemology that science and metaphysics are indissociable, and that the materialist conception of being is open to challenge from a different ontology. Having reviewed the various conceptions of being which have been developed in the past, a version of process philosophy is outlined and it is argued that this promises to be far more effective than materialism as a foundation for the natural sciences. In particular it is shown how in terms of process philosophy it is possible to conceive of living, sentient organisms as having emerged from inanimate being. This provides the basis for the development of a conception of humanity as an emergent form of life. The human order is then seen as a process of becoming within nature with its own unique dynamics, irreducible to any other processes, involving both intentional and unintentional processes. It is shown how on the basis of this conception of humanity it is possible to develop an ethical theory and a critical socialscience, and in this way, to transcend the disjunction between science and ethics. -/- . (shrink)
Research in the social sciences received generous patronage in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Research was widely perceived as providing solutions to emerging social problems. That generosity came under increased contest in the late 1970s. Although these trends held true for all of the social sciences, this essay explores the various ways by which economists in particular reacted to and resisted the patronage cuts that were proposed in the first budgets of the Reagan administration. Economists’ response (...) was three fold: to engage in joint lobbying with other social scientists, to tap into their authority as a respected policy player, and to influence the types of research financed by the patron. With interviews of the former lobbyist for the social scientists, the former director of the Economics program for the National Science Foundation, and a review of the archival records of economists and their scholarly society, we discuss how economists have claimed entitlement to patronage in the closing decades of the twentieth century. We observe a dynamic and productive relationship between politicians and researchers mediated by the National Science Foundation, where civil servants, lobbyist and public minded scientists, and self-serving grantees trade roles. (shrink)
Is socialscience really a science at all, and if so in what sense? This is the first real question that any course on the philosophy of the social sciences must tackle. In this brief introduction, Malcolm Williams gives the students the grounding that will enable them to discuss the issues involved with confidence.
The noble aim of sociologists to "tell the truth" has sometimes involved ignoble assumptions about human beings. In this major discussion of truth in the socialscience, Ross Abbinnett traces the debate on truth from the "objectifying powers" of Kant through more than 200 years of critique and reformulation to the unraveling of truth by Lyotard, Foucault, and Derrida. Truth and SocialScience gives students an exciting and accessible guide to the main sociological treatments of truth (...) and can also be read as an account of the collapse of modernity and the rise of new forms of thought, which treat difference and ambivalence as positive values. The book will be of interest to students of sociology, social theory, and philosophy. (shrink)
Explains Popper's views on natural and socialscience, ranging in Part I from metaphysical considerations to his interpretation of the formalism of quantum mechanics, and in Part II from the errors of historicism and holism to the roles of theoretical models, institutions, traditions and history.
The formal and empirical-generative perspectives of computation are demonstrated to be inadequate to secure the goals of simulation in the social sciences. Simulation does not resemble formal demonstrations or generative mechanisms that deductively explain how certain models are sufficient to generate emergent macrostructures of interest. The description of scientific practice implies additional epistemic conceptions of scientific knowledge. Three kinds of knowledge that account for a comprehensive description of the discipline were identified: formal, empirical and intentional knowledge. The use of (...) formal conceptions of computation for describing simulation is refuted; the roles of programming languages according to intentional accounts of computation are identified; and the roles of iconographic programming languages and aesthetic machines in simulation are characterized. The roles that simulation and intentional decision making may be able to play in a participative information society are also discussed. (shrink)
Deception of subjects is used frequently in the social sciences. Examples are provided. The ethics of experimental deception are discussed, in particular various maneuvers to solve the problem. The results have implications for the use of deception in the biomedical sciences.
Making SocialScience Matter presents an exciting new approach to the social and behavioral sciences including theoretical argument, methodological guidelines, and examples of practical application. Why has socialscience failed in attempts to emulate natural science and produce normal theory? Bent Flyvbjerg argues that the strength of social sciences lies in its rich, reflexive analysis of values and power, essential to the social and economic development of any society. Richly informed, powerfully argued, (...) and clearly written, this book opens up a new future for the social sciences. Its empowering message will make it required reading for students and academics across the social and behavioral sciences. (shrink)
Up until recently social scientists took it for granted that their task was to account for the social world as objectively as possible: they were realists in practice if not always in their methodological sermons. This situation started to change in the 1960s, when a number of antirealist philosophies made inroads into social studies. -/- This paper examines critically the following kinds of antirealism: subjectivism, conventionalism, fictionism, social constructivism, relativism, and hermeneutics. An attempt is made to (...) show that these philosophies are false and are causing serious damage to social studies. -/- Next the subjective interpretation of probability is analyzed as a case of subjectivism. An approach to the subjective perception of justice is sketched as an example of the objective study of subjective experience. -/- Finally, the three main varieties of realism — naive, critical, and scientific — are outlined. It is argued that the scientific attitude involves scientific realism, which is put in practice even by scholars who, like Weber and Simmel, called themselves antirealists. (shrink)
Research Ethics Committees or Institutional Review Boards are rapidly becoming indispensable mechanisms in the overall workings of university institutions. In fact, the ethical dimension is an important aspect of research governance processes present in institutions of higher learning. However, it is often deemed that research in the social sciences do not require ethical appraisal or clearance, because of the alleged absence of harm in conducting such research. This is an erroneous and dangerous assumption given that research in social (...) sciences poses various and complex dilemmas related to ethics. The article aims to gauge the importance of ethical appraisal at a particular institution of higher learning’s Faculty of Humanities. This is done by scrutinising its defunct REC, and the views that Heads of Departments of the Faculty have of ethics in research and the need for ethical appraisal by this REC. Finally, some suggestions are made to proceed to review and restructure the current REC with the ultimate objective to make it functional again. It was found that the development and discussion around ethics in research and ethical appraisal are part of a much needed thrust to sensitise the entire Faculty and the institution on the widespread beneficial repercussions of ethical awareness in research and beyond. (shrink)
The paper presents a critical analysis of the current state of qualitative research approaches in the social sciences and humanities within Slovak academic institutions. The author has been inspired by the metaphor of academic “barbaricum”. This analytical category is based on a model of the relationship between core and periphery, which has no clear function or organisational logic. From the scientific point of view, the core/centre should produce and innovate the theory, whereas the periphery should apply it. In Slovakia—contrary (...) to the situation in Western academia—, the last two decades have seen a growth in the numbers of academic institutions dealing with the humanities , and stagnation in qualitative social research. The author suggests that if the Slovak social sciences aspire is to becoming part of the so-called European academic space, then this will certainly not be possible without much stronger and extensive support for social research based on qualitative approaches and methods. (shrink)
The goal of providing a scientific account of human behavior has driven a great variety of research programs in the social sciences since their disciplinary formation and institutionalization. Arguably the most dominant mode of social scientific discourse in the last century has been economics. Economists have given various answers to the possibility of providing a scientific account of human action.The most dominant school of thought, neoclassical economics, has answered this in the affirmative. However, the neoclassical model of human (...) agency, crystallized in the rational chooser, or homo economicus, at the foundation of this scientific account has been subjected to a variety of criticisms, including from within economics itself. Recently this critique has taken shape in the work of behavioral economics such as Daniel Kahneman. However critical this rival theory may be, it remains the case that both schools rest upon an understanding of the methods and aims of economics that was the target of both John Dewey and Ludwig Wittgenstein. This paper draws out several consequences of examining both rival economic schools from Dewey’s reconstructive understanding of inquiry and Wittgenstein’s therapeutic treatment of intellectual problems. (shrink)
Comparing different causes’ importance, and apportioning responsibility between them, requires making good sense of the notion of partial explanation, that is, of degree of explanation. How much is this subjective, how much objective? If the causes in question are probabilistic, how much is the outcome due to them and how much to simple chance? I formulate the notion of degree of causation, or effect size, relating it to influential recent work in the literature on causation. I examine to what extent (...) mainstream socialscience methods--both quantitative and qualitative--succeed in establishing effect sizes so understood. The answer turns out to be, roughly: only to some extent. Next, the standard understanding of effect size, even though widespread, still has several underappreciated consequences. I detail some of those. Finally, I discuss the separate issue of explanandum-dependence, which is essential to assessing any cause’s explanatory importance and yet which has been comparatively neglected. (shrink)
I motivate the concept of styles of scientific investigation, and differentiate two styles, formal and compositional. Styles are ways of doing scientific research. Radically different styles exist. I explore the possibility of the unification of biology and socialscience, as well as the possibility of unifying the two styles I identify. Recent attempts at unifying biology and socialscience have been premised almost exclusively on the formal style. Through the use of a historical example of defenders (...) of compositional biological socialscience, the Ecology Group at the University of Chicago from, roughly, the 1930s to the 1950s, I attempt to show the coherence and possibility, if not utility, of employing the compositional style to effect the synthesis of biology and socialscience. I also relate the efforts of the Ecology Group to those of investigators in the Sociology Department of the University of Chicago. In my conclusion, I discuss the usefulness both of employing the category of styles of scientific investigation in historical and philosophical studies of science, as well as the concept of compositionality in scientific studies. I end the paper with some tentative suggestions regarding the importance of compositionality for an analysis of human society. (shrink)
This article examines two empirical research traditions—experimental economics and the social identity approach in social psychology—that may be seen as attempts to falsify and verify the theory of collective intentionality, respectively. The article argues that both approaches fail to settle the issue. However, this is not necessarily due to the alleged immaturity of the social sciences but, possibly, to the philosophical nature of intentionality and intentional action. The article shows how broadly Davidsonian action theory, including Hacking’s notion (...) of the looping effect of the human sciences, can be developed into an argument for the view that there is no theory-independent true nature of intentional action. If the Davidsonian line of thought is correct, the theory of collective intentionality is, in a sense, true if we accept the theory. Key Words: collective intentionality • experimental economics • social identity theory • Donald Davidson • Ian Hacking • constructivism • action • agency • philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
The aim of the paper is to deal with the links between Schutz and Wittgenstein on the centrality of language and intersubjectivity in the structure of meanings. I believe there are similarities between Schutz’s proto-trust in the natural attitude and Wittgenstein’s animal faith in the basic life form of language games. To this end, Cicourel’s analysis of the relationship between language, Verstehen and empirical research methods will be used. Cicourel renders Schutz and Wittgenstein contiguous, by interpreting the different techniques of (...) empirical research as languages that structure the understanding of meanings on the basis of the order of different realities and different language games. (shrink)
Philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science have grown interested in the daily practices of scientists. Recent studies have drawn linkages between scientific innovations and more ordinary procedures, craft skills, and sources of sponsorship. These studies dispute the idea that science is the application of a unified method or the outgrowth of a progressive history of ideas. This book critically reviews arguments and empirical studies in two areas of sociology that have played a significant role in the 'sociological turn' (...) in science studies: ethnomethodology and the sociology of scientific knowledge. In both fields, efforts to study scientific practices have led to intractable difficulties and debates, due in part to scientistic and foundationalist commitments that remain entrenched with social-scientific research policies and descriptive language. The central purpose of this book is to explore the possibility of an empirical approach to the epistemic contents of science that avoids the pitfalls of scientism and foundationalism. (shrink)
In the past twenty years, the field of science and technology studies (S&TS) has made considerable progress toward illuminating the relationship between scientific knowledge and political power. These insights have not yet been synthesized or presented in a form that systematically highlights the connections between S&TS and other social sciences. This timely collection of essays by some of the leading scholars in the field attempts to fill that gap. The book develops the theme of "co-production", showing how scientific (...) knowledge both embeds and is embedded in social identities, institutions, representations and discourses. Accordingly, the authors argue, ways of knowing the world are inseparably linked to the ways in which people seek to organize and control it. Through studies of emerging knowledges, research practices and political institutions, the authors demonstrate that the idiom of co-production importantly extends the vocabulary of the traditional social sciences, offering fresh analytic perspectiveson the nexus of science, power and culture. (shrink)
Professor Little presents an introduction to the philosophy of socialscience with an emphasis on the central forms of explanation in socialscience: rational-intentional, causal, functional, structural, materialist, statistical and interpretive. The book is very strong on recent developments, particularly in its treatment of rational choice theory, microfoundations for social explanation, the idea of supervenience, functionalism, and current discussions of relativism.Of special interest is Professor Little’s insight that, like the philosophy of natural science, the (...) philosophy of socialscience can profit from examining actual scientific examples. Throughout the book, philosophical theory is integrated with recent empirical work on both agrarian and industrial society drawn from political science, sociology, geography, anthropology, and economics.Clearly written and well structured, this text provides the logical and conceptual tools necessary for dealing with the debates at the cutting edge of contemporary philosophy of socialscience. It will prove indispensible for philosophers, social scientists and their students. (shrink)
Proponents of evolutionary psychology take the existence of humanuniversals to constitute decisive evidence in favor of their view. Ifthe same social norms are found in culture after culture, we have goodreason to believe that they are innate, they argue. In this paper Ipropose an alternative explanation for the existence of humanuniversals, which does not depend on them being the product of inbuiltpsychological adaptations. Following the work of Brian Skyrms, I suggestthat if a particular convention possesses even a very small (...) advantageover competitors, whatever the reason for that advantage, we shouldexpect it to become the norm almost everywhere. Tiny advantages aretranslated into very large basins of attraction, in the language of gametheory. If this is so, universal norms are not evidence for innatepsychological adaptations at all. Having shown that the existence ofuniversals is consistent with the so-called Standard Social ScienceModel, I turn to a consideration of the evidence, to show that thisstyle of explanation is preferable to the evolutionary explanation, atleast with regard to patterns of gender inequality. (shrink)
The present essay focuses on the Frankfurt School’s views on relations between philosophy and science. The author specifically concentrates on Horkheimer, the School’s leader, and Habermas, its most prominent contemporary representative. In her reconstruction of the Frankfurt School’s approach to the dependencies between philosophy and science the author—similarly to the Frankfurt theoreticians—abstains from treating it abstractly, instead placing it in its social and historiosophical context. The essay’s leading thesis is that the Frankfurt School sees philosophical self-reflection as (...) a remedy for the crisis in European culture, visible since the beginnings of the modern era in the rise of instrumental thinking. The author reminds that the assumption of philosophy’ primacy over science—or the primacy of wisdom over knowledge—has found avid support among philosophers of other eras and other schools of thought. (shrink)
Global society is facing formidable current and future problems that threaten the prospects for justice and peace, sustainability, and the well-being of humanity both now and in the future. Many of these problems are related to science and technology and to how they function in the world. If the social responsibility of scientists and engineers implies a duty to safeguard or promote a peaceful, just and sustainable world society, then science and engineering education should empower students to (...) fulfil this responsibility. The contributions to this special issue present European examples of teaching social responsibility to students in science and engineering, and provide examples and discussion of how this teaching can be promoted, and of obstacles that are encountered. Speaking generally, education aimed at preparing future scientists and engineers for social responsibility is presently very limited and seemingly insufficient in view of the enormous ethical and social problems that are associated with current science and technology. Although many social, political and professional organisations have expressed the need for the provision of teaching for social responsibility, important and persistent barriers stand in the way of its sustained development. What is needed are both bottom-up teaching initiatives from individuals or groups of academic teachers, and top-down support to secure appropriate embedding in the university. Often the latter is lacking or inadequate. Educational policies at the national or international level, such as the Bologna agreements in Europe, can be an opportunity for introducing teaching for social responsibility. However, frequently no or only limited positive effect of such policies can be discerned. Existing accreditation and evaluation mechanisms do not guarantee appropriate attention to teaching for social responsibility, because, in their current form, they provide no guarantee that the curricula pay sufficient attention to teaching goals that are desirable for society as a whole. (shrink)
This introduction to the philosophy of socialscience provides an original conception of the task and nature of social inquiry. Peter Manicas discusses the role of causality seen in the physical sciences and offers a reassessment of the problem of explanation from a realist perspective. He argues that the fundamental goal of theory in both the natural and social sciences is not, contrary to widespread opinion, prediction and control, or the explanation of events. Instead, theory aims (...) to provide an understanding of the processes which, together, produce the contingent outcomes of experience. Offering a host of concrete illustrations and examples of critical ideas and issues, this accessible book will be of interest to students of the philosophy of socialscience, and social scientists from a range of disciplines. (shrink)
The problems dealt with in The Idea of a SocialScience are philosophical. It is an attempt to place the socialscience, considered as a single group, on the intellectual map, with special attention to the relations of the discipline to philosophy on the one hand and the natural sciences on the other. The author holds that the relation between the social sciences and philosophy is commonly misunderstood because of certain fashionable misconceptions about the nature (...) of philosophy, and because of an incorrect assessment of the significance of some of Wittgenstein's contributions. He discusses the influence of the natural sciences on our conception of the social sciences and examines some of the most influential ideas of J.S. Mill, Pareto and Max Weber. (shrink)
At least since Kuhn’s Structure, philosophers have studied the influence of social factors in science’s pursuit of truth and knowledge. More recently, formal models and computer simulations have allowed philosophers of science and social epistemologists to dig deeper into the detailed dynamics of scientific research and experimentation, and to develop very seemingly realistic models of the social organization of science. These models purport to be predictive of the optimal allocations of factors, such as diversity (...) of methods used in science, size of groups, and communication channels among researchers. In this paper we argue that the current research faces an empirical challenge. The challenge is to connect simulation models with data. We present possible scenarios about how the challenge may unfold. (shrink)
The widespread impression that recent philosophy of science has pioneered exploration of the “social dimensions of scientific knowledge” is shown to be in error, partly due to a lack of appreciation of historical precedent, and partly due to a misunderstanding of how the social sciences and philosophy have been intertwined over the last century. This paper argues that the referents of “democracy” are an important key in the American context, and that orthodoxies in the philosophy of (...) class='Hi'>science tend to be molded by the actual regimes of science organization within which they are embedded. These theses are illustrated by consideration of three representative philosophers of science: John Dewey, Hans Reichenbach, and Philip Kitcher.Author Keywords: Social dimensions of science; Logical positivism; Democracy; Context of discovery/justification; Goals of science. (shrink)
This paper presents a challenge to the coherence of social constructivism about science. It introduces an objection according to which social constructivism appeals to the authority of science regarding the nature of reality and so cannot coherently deny that authority. The challenge is how to avoid this incoherence.
In Psychoanalysis, its image and its public Moscovici introduced the theory of social representations and took further the project of rehabilitating common sense. In this paper I examine this project through a consideration of the problem of cognitive polyphasia, and the continuity and discontinuity between different systems of knowing. Focusing on the relations between science and common sense. I ask why, despite considerable evidence to the contrary, the scientific imagination tends to deny its relation to common sense and (...) believe that can displace it. I argue that the psychosocial dynamic between common sense and science is revealing of how heavily they are entangled in, and indeed indebted to each other. Even more, this dynamic allows for a full appreciation of what the theory of social representations calls states of cognitive polyphasia. Different systems of thinking and knowing do not displace each other but live side by side, co-existing in a variety of ways, fulfilling different functions and answering different needs in social life. (shrink)