Knowledge and Social Imagery / Edition 2

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The first edition of this book profoundly challenged and divided students of philosophy, sociology, and the history of science when it was published in 1976. In this second edition, Bloor responds in a substantial new Afterword to the heated debates engendered by his book.

"Bloor's book came out as a broadside that announced a new approach to the history and philosophy of science, an approach that became known as the `strong programme.' . . . Now, any book published in history and philosophy of science must take Bloor and the strong programme into account."--Robert J. Richards, University of Chicago

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Editorial Reviews

In a substantial new afterword, Bloor responds to the heated debates engendered by the 1976 first edition, contending that even hard sciences are more dependent on social factors than on observation or logic. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226060972
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1991
  • Series: Direct Editions Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 203
  • Sales rank: 1,359,733
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bloor, one of the founders of the "strong programme" at the University of Edinburgh Science Studies Unit, is the author of Wittgenstein and Social Science.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition (1991)
1. The Strong Programme in the Sociology of Knowledge
The Strong Programme
The Autonomy of Knowledge
The Argument from Empiricism
The Argument from Self-Refutation
The Argument from Future Knowledge
2. Sense Experience, Materialism and Truth
The Reliability of Sense Experience
Experience and Belief
Materialism and Sociological Explanation
Truth, Correspondence and Convention
3. Sources of Resistance to the Strong Programme
A Durkheimean Approach to Science
Society and Knowledge
4. Knowledge and Social Imagery: A Case Study
The Popper-Kuhn Debate
Enlightenment Versus Romantic Ideologies
The Historical Location of the Ideologies
The Link between Epistemological and Ideological Debates
Another Variable, Knowledge under Threat
The Lesson to Be Learned
5. A Naturalistic Approach to Mathematics
The Standard Experience of Mathematics
J S Mill's Theory of Mathematics
Frege's Criticisms of Mill
Frege's Definition of Objectivity Accepted, But What Satisfies This Definition?
Mill's Theory Modified by Sociological Factors
Summary and Conclusion
6. Can There Be an Alternative Mathematics?
What Would an Alternative Mathematics Look Like?
Is 'One' a Number?
Pythagorean and Platonic Number
The Metaphysics of Root Two
7. Negotiation in Logical and Mathematical Thought
Lord Mansfield's Advice
Paradoxes of the Infinite
Azande Logic and Western Science
The Negotiation of a Proof in Mathematics
8. Conclusion: Where Do We Stand?
Afterword: Attacks on the Strong Programme
How Not to Attack the Strong Programme
Covariance, Causality and Cognitive Science
The Ultimate Refutation of Interest Explanations
The Charge of Idealism
Symmetry Lost and Symmetry Regained
Mathematics and the Realm of Necessity
Conclusion: Science and Heresy

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