Philosophy of Science and Its Discontents, Second Edition / Edition 2

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The most important and exciting recent development in the philosophy of science is its merging with the sociology of scientific knowledge. Here is the first text book to make this development available.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The most important and exciting recent development in the philosophy of science is its merging with the sociology of scientific knowledge. Here is the first text book to make this development available. It belongs as a second text in every course of philosophy of science, whether taught in a philosophy department, or as a part of the scientific method teaching in psychology, political science, sociology, economics, etc. While the title does not signal this, it also belongs in every sociology of science course." --Donald T. Campbell, Ph.D., Past President, American Psychological Association, Member, National Academy of Sciences, Division 53, Social and Political Sciences
The author, whose intellectual/prose style is vigorous and good- naturedly contentious (he is an assistant professor of "science studies" at VPI, and editor of Social epistemology; a journal of knowledge, culture and policy), argues that the recently dominant "internalist" approach to the history and philosophy of science promotes what is essentially a myth, and that understanding the development and structure of science is properly the business of sociology and psychology. The remarkable table of contents provides what amounts to an abstract of his argument. Provocative. One gains, however, the impression that the author's direct and personal experience of science is distinctly limited, that he has possibly never met a living/working scientist, and that the enduring residue of what he has to say is likely to be slight. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780898620207
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/25/1992
  • Series: The Conduct of Science Series Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Fuller, Ph.D., teaches in the Graduate Program in Science and Technology Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and in the Communications Department at the University of Pittsburgh. He is the founding and executive editor of the journal, Social Epistemology, and the author of three books including Philosophy of Science and Its Discontents.
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Table of Contents

1 My Map of the Field 1
1 Overall Trend: From Historicism to Naturalism 1
2 The Great Pretender: The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge 7
3 The Old Chestnuts: Rationalism and Realism 13
4 The Growth Areas: Biology and Cognitive Science 17
5 An Itinerary for the Nineties: Does Science Compute? 23
6 The New Wave: Metascience 28
7 Feminism: The Final Frontier? 31
2 Mythical Naturalism and Anemic Normativism: A Look at the Status Quo 34
1 The Mythical Status of the Internal History of Science, or Why the Philosophy of Science Is Suffering an Identity Crisis 34
2 Dismantling This Myth, Step By Step 40
3 Gently Easing Ourselves Out of Internalism: The Case of Disciplines 49
4 If Internalism Is Such a Myth, Then Why Don't the Sociologists Have the Upper Hand? 55
5 Still, the Internalists Do Not Have a Lock on the Concept of Rationality 59
6 Nor on the Concept of Reality, Where Things Are a Complete Mess 66
7 The End of Realism, or Deconstructing Everything In and Out of Sight 69
8 But What's Left of Scientific Rationality? Only Your Management Scientist Knows For Sure 74
9 Finale: Some New Things For Philosophers to Worry About 82
3 Reposing the Naturalistic Question: What Is Knowledge? 86
1 Naturalism as a Threat to Rationality: The Case of Laudan 86
2 Shards of a Potted History of Naturalism 89
3 Why Today's Naturalistic Philosophy of Science Is Modeled More on Aristotle Than on Darwin 92
4 Why a Truly Naturalistic Science of Science Might Just Do Away With Science 96
5 A Parting Shot at Misguided Naturalism: Piecemeal Approaches to Scientific Change 101
6 Towards a New Dismal Science of Science: A First Look at the Experimental Study of Scientific Reasoning 106
7 Sociologists versus Psychologists, and a Resolution via Social Epistemology 109
8 If People Are Irrational, Then Maybe Knowledge Needs to Be Beefed Up 115
9 Or Maybe Broken Down 120
10 Or Maybe We Need to Resort to Metaphors: Everyone Else Has 123
11 Could Reason Be Modeled on a Society Modeled on a Computer? 127
12 Could Computers Be the Very Stuff of Which Reason Is Made? 130
13 Yes, But There's Still Plenty of Room For People! 137
4 Reposing the Nonnative Question: What Ought Knowledge Be? 143
1 Knowledge Policy Requires That You Find Out Where the Reason Is in Knowledge Production 143
2 Unfortunately, On This Issue, Philosophers and Sociologists Are Most Wrong Where They Most Agree 146
3 However, Admitting the Full Extent of This Error Suggests a Radical Reworking of the History of Science 149
4 But It Also Means That the Epistemic Legitimacy of the Interpretive Method Has Been Undermined 153
5 Moreover, the Fall of the Interpretive Method Threatens the New Cognitive History of Science 155
6 Still, None of This Need Endanger the Rationality of Science, If We Look in Other Directions 162
7 Reconstructing Rationality I: Getting History Into Gear 167
8 Reconstructing Rationality II: Experiment Against the Infidels 175
9 The Perils and Possibilities of Modeling Norms: Some Lessons from the History of Economics 180
10 The Big Problem: How To Take the First Step Toward Improving Science? 186
11 Behaviorally Speaking, the Options Are Numerous But Disparate 191
12 If the Display of Norms Is So Disparate, Then the Search For Cognitive Coherence is Just So Much Voodoo 198
Coda: Epistemic Autonomy as Institutionalized Self-Deception 208
Postscript: Big Questions and Little Answers - A Response to Critics 211
Bibliography 218
Index 237
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