The Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies

The Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies

by Steve Fuller
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0415941040

ISBN-13: 9780415941044

Pub. Date: 12/01/2004

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a broad, interdisciplinary, and rapidly growing field that explores the relationship between science and technology and the ways these disciplines shape society and our understanding of the world. But as the field has become more established, it has increasingly hidden its philosophical roots. While the trend is typical of

Overview

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is a broad, interdisciplinary, and rapidly growing field that explores the relationship between science and technology and the ways these disciplines shape society and our understanding of the world. But as the field has become more established, it has increasingly hidden its philosophical roots. While the trend is typical of disciplines striving for maturity, Steve Fuller, a leading figure in the field, argues that STS has much to lose if it abandons philosophy. He argues that the discipline is rooted in a variety of philosophical assumptions that, until now, have remained unarticulated, undefended, and misunderstood. These are epitomized in the phrase "postmodern positivism." In his characteristically provocative style, he offers the first sustained treatment of the philosophical foundations of STS and suggests fruitful avenues for further research. With stimulating discussions of the Science Wars, the Intelligent Design Theory controversy, and a sustained critique of Bruno Latour's actor-network theory, The Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies is destined to become required reading for students and scholars in STS, history, sociology, and the philosophy of science.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415941044
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
12/01/2004
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
IIntroduction: The Conspicuous Absence of Philosophy from Science and Technology Studies1
IIThe Sociology of Knowledge: The Philosophical Backdrop to STS11
1Philosophical Foundations and Main Sociological Traditions11
2Science as a Special Problem for the Sociology of Knowledge14
3Kuhn's Checkered Legacy to STS21
4The Punch Line: A Sociology of Science that is not a Sociology of Knowledge28
5Relativism and the Illusion of Autonomy in Science30
6STS's Janus-faced Antirealism: Relativism versus Constructivism35
7Conclusion: So is Relativism the Wrong Target?39
IIIPhilosophy In, Of, and Beyond the Scientific Field Site45
8Making Philosophy Safe for STS: The Rise of the Underlaborer45
9Philosophy by Sociological Means: STS as Fieldwork49
10STS Catches Philosophy by the Achilles' Heel: The Problem of Replication54
11What Is Living and Undead in Actor-network Theory58
12STS Fieldwork as a Reflection of the Shifting Material Conditions of Scientific Work67
13New Horizons for Laboratory Life: Science as a Site of Generational Conflict and Jurisdictional Ambiguity72
IV"Postmodern Positivism": STS by Another Name?79
14Platonism as Proto-Positivism79
15The Dialectical History of Positivism82
16Postmodernism as Positivism's Bastard Child88
17Motivating the Science Wars: The Politics of Popularizing and Esotericizing Science93
18The Elusive "Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists" Defended in the Science Wars98
19Does Research Fraud Matter? Reflections on the Sokal Hoax as a Social Experiment102
20What Should Have Been Done About Sokal? What Can Be Done About Positivism?108
VRe-enchanting Science: Beyond Puritans and Gnostics115
21The Science Wars as Signaling the End of Scientific Puritanism115
22The Secularization of Science as a Precondition to its Re-enchantment122
23Re-enchanting Science with a Vengeance: Gnostic Scientism127
24Prolegomena to the Hidden History of Gnostic Biology133
25Distinguishing the Enchanted and Disenchanted Mind: The Mark of Theodicy141
26Two Disenchanted Theodicies: Invisible Hand and Natural Selection145
27The Cost of Disenchantment: A Failed Scientific Defense of Human Freedom149
28Conclusions: Meeting Weber's Challenge and Transcending the Science Wars152
VICitizen Science: Cultivating a Life in STS157
29Introduction: Beware of Greeks Bearing Historical Precedents157
30Expertise and Its Discontents: Some Institutional Alternatives160
31Institutionalizing the Public Understanding of Science in Consensus Conferences164
32The Prospects for Scientific Citizenship Today171
33Conclusion: Toward a Rhetorical Reclamation of Science174
Bibliography181
Index189

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