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No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought
     

No Other Gods: On Science and American Social Thought

by Charles E. Rosenberg
 

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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

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?

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

Doody's Review Service
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?
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.

4 Stars! from Doody
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?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801855986
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
03/28/1997
Edition description:
revised and expanded edition
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

What People are Saying About This

Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz
When No Other Gods first appeared in 1976 scholars praised its wide ranging yet coherent history of scientific enterprise and the multiple identities of science in American life. From Rosenberg our students learned to contextualize and discipline their historical inquiries. Today the book secures a dimension that was once ironically obscured by its breadth and our optimism and we see that Rosenberg has brilliantly exposed and emphasized the ambiguous moral contours of practice empowered by knowledge.

David Hollinger

Charles Rosenberg is one of the finest social historians of medicine in the world.

David Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley

Donna Haraway
No Other Gods had a tremendous impact on me when I started to teach and write about the many patterns in which science and American life are woven into each other. Rosenberg helped teach us how to pay attention to the rich detail and thick complexity of scientific and medical practice as an intrinsic part of culture.

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.

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