No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought

Overview

In its original edition, No Other Gods offered a pioneering and influential examination of the ways in which social institutions and values shaped American scientific practice and thought. In this revised and expanded edition, Rosenberg directs our attention to the dilemma posed by the social study of science: How can we reconcile the scientist's understanding of science as a quest for truth and knowledge with the historian's conviction that all knowledge bears the marks of the ...

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Overview

In its original edition, No Other Gods offered a pioneering and influential examination of the ways in which social institutions and values shaped American scientific practice and thought. In this revised and expanded edition, Rosenberg directs our attention to the dilemma posed by the social study of science: How can we reconcile the scientist's understanding of science as a quest for truth and knowledge with the historian's conviction that all knowledge bears the marks of the culture which gave it birth?

Johns Hopkins University Press

The book contains no figures.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
No Other Gods... is an excellent and important book. It ought to be read by a far larger community than that professionally concerned with the social history of science in America. Especially, it should be standard reading for all those practically concerned with the sociological treatment of natural knowledge, and it may be read as implicit sociology of knowledge.

— Steve Shapin

Isis
More than anyone else, [Rosenberg] has moved medicine from the periphery of the historical enterprise to a position much nearer the center. Around the world he is recognized as the leading medical historian of the late twentieth century.

— Ronald L. Numbers

Times Literary Supplement - Steve Shapin

No Other Gods... is an excellent and important book. It ought to be read by a far larger community than that professionally concerned with the social history of science in America. Especially, it should be standard reading for all those practically concerned with the sociological treatment of natural knowledge, and it may be read as implicit sociology of knowledge.

Isis - Ronald L. Numbers

More than anyone else, [Rosenberg] has moved medicine from the periphery of the historical enterprise to a position much nearer the center. Around the world he is recognized as the leading medical historian of the late twentieth century.

From The Critics
Reviewer: Robert L. Martensen, MD, PhD (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: In 16 essays organized into two parts, Charles Rosenberg, America's senior historian of medicine, uses diverse late 19th and early 20th century sources to explore historical relationships among science, society, and social thought.
Purpose: Believing that the social uses and social character of science are too important and too complex to be left to scientists, Rosenberg looks at formative stages and people in genetics, neurology, public health, and agricultural research to provide a broad historical context for ideas and institutions that shaped their time and inform our own. Rosenberg is a master at showing the interpenetration of scientific ideas into public policy debates and social movements.
Audience: Although the essays are brief, each is beautifully crafted and should appeal to the general reader with an interest in gender, genetics, public health, agricultural science, and the social and historical construction of scientific ideas generally. Well-referenced, the essays also are useful for historians, both amateur and professional.
Features: This edition, the second since 1976, includes a new preface that provides a context for recent public debate between social scientists, philosophers, historians, and working scientists. Also, three new chapters that were previously published in scholarly journals address some aspects of the ideology and social context of knowledge-making in science.
Assessment: Readers with an interest in the early development of American genetics will find an accessible and authoritative presentation of crucial ideas and social factors in a short essay. Taken together, the collection addresses an important dilemma in late 20th century learned culture: How can we reconcile the scientist's understanding of science as a quest for truth and knowledge with the historian's conviction that all knowledge bears the marks of the culture that gave it birth?
Robert L. Martensen
In 16 essays organized into two parts, Charles Rosenberg, America's senior historian of medicine, uses diverse late 19th and early 20th century sources to explore historical relationships among science, society, and social thought. Believing that the social uses and social character of science are too important and too complex to be left to scientists, Rosenberg looks at formative stages and people in genetics, neurology, public health, and agricultural research to provide a broad historical context for ideas and institutions that shaped their time and inform our own. Rosenberg is a master at showing the interpenetration of scientific ideas into public policy debates and social movements. Although the essays are brief, each is beautifully crafted and should appeal to the general reader with an interest in gender, genetics, public health, agricultural science, and the social and historical construction of scientific ideas generally. Well-referenced, the essays also are useful for historians, both amateur and professional. This edition, the second since 1976, includes a new preface that provides a context for recent public debate between social scientists, philosophers, historians, and working scientists. Also, three new chapters that were previously published in scholarly journals address some aspects of the ideology and social context of knowledge-making in science. Readers with an interest in the early development of American genetics will find an accessible and authoritative presentation of crucial ideas and social factors in a short essay. Taken together, the collection addresses an important dilemma in late 20th century learned culture: How can we reconcile the scientist'sunderstanding of science as a quest for truth and knowledge with the historian's conviction that all knowledge bears the marks of the culture that gave it birth?

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801855986
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1997
  • Edition description: revised and expanded edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles E. Rosenberg is the Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of numerous books, including The Cholera Years and The Care of Strangers. He was recently honored with the History of Science Society's Sarton Medal, its most prestigious award.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface: Science in Play
Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Science, Society, and Social Thought 1
Ch. 1 The Bitter Fruit: Heredity, Disease, and Social Thought 25
Ch. 2 The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Women 54
Ch. 3 Sexuality, Class, and Role 71
Ch. 4 Charles Benedict Davenport and the Irony of American Eugenics 89
Ch. 5 George M. Beard and American Nervousness 98
Ch. 6 Piety and Social Action: Some Origins of the American Public Health Movement 109
Ch. 7 Martin Arrowsmith: The Scientist as Hero 123
Ch. 8 Science and Social Values in Nineteenth-Century America: A Case Study in the Growth of Scientific Institutions 135
Ch. 9 Science, Technology, and Economic Growth: The Case of the Agricultural Experiment Station Scientist, 1875-1914 153
Ch. 10 The Adams Act: Politics and the Cause of Scientific Research 173
Ch. 11 Unintended Consequences: The Ideological Shaping of American Agricultural Research, 1875-1914 185
Ch. 12 Science Pure and Science Applied: Two Studies in the Social Origin of Scientific Research 200
Ch. 13 The Social Environment of Scientific Innovation: Factors in the Development of Genetics in the United States 211
Ch. 14 Toward an Ecology of Knowledge: On Discipline, Context, and History 225
Ch. 15 Woods or Trees? Ideas and Actors in the History of Science 240
Notes 247
Index 307
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