Philosophy, Rhetoric, and the End of Knowledge: The Coming of Science and Technology Studies

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Editorial Reviews

Seeking to recover language as a force that collectively enables people to transform their world, Fuller (Center for the Study of Science in Society, Virginia Tech) promotes the idea of social epistemology in order to foster closer cooperation between humanists and social scientists in the emerging interdisciplinary complex known as Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS practitioners employ methods that enable them to fathom both the "inner workings" and the "outer character" of science without having to be expert in the fields they study. The success of such a practice bodes well for extending science's sphere of accountability, presumably toward a greater democratization of the scientific decision-making process. Paper edition (unseen), $22.50. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299137700
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/1993
  • Series: Rhetoric of the Human Sciences Ser.
  • Pages: 446
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.37 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Players: STS, Rhetoric, Social Epistemology 3
HPS as the prehistory of STS 3
The turn to sociology and STS 9
Rhetoric: The theory behind the practice 17
Enter the social epistemologist 24
Ch. 2 The Position: Interdisciplinarity as Interpenetration 33
The terms of the argument 33
The perils of pluralism 38
Interpenetration's interlopers 44
The pressure points for interpenetration 48
The task ahead (and the enemy within) 56
Here I stand 64
Ch. 3 Incorporation, or Epistemology Emergent 69
Tycho on the run 70
Hegel to the rescue 84
Building the better naturalist 94
Conclusion: Naturalism's trial by fire 100
Ch. 4 Reflexion, or the Missing Mirror of the Social Sciences 102
Why the scientific study of science might just show that there is no science to study 106
The elusive search for science in the social sciences: Deconstructing the five canonical historiographies 114
How economists defeated political scientists at their own game 126
Conclusion: The rhetoric that is science 133
Ch. 5 Sublimation, or Some Hints on How to be Cognitively Revolting 139
Introduction: Of rhetorical impasses and forced choices 140
Some impasses in the artificial intelligence debates 142
Drawing the battle lines 144
AI as PC-positivism 146
How my enemy's enemy became my friend 151
But now that the coast is clear 156
Three attempts to clarify the cognitive 168
AI's strange bedfellows: Actants 179
Ch. 6 Excavation, or the Withering Away of History and Philosophy of Science and the Brave New World of Science and Technology Studies 186
Positioning social epistemology in the tradition from HPS to STS 187
The price of humanism in historical scholarship 192
A symmetry principle for historicism 200
Historicism's version of the cold war 203
Under- and overdetermining history 210
When in doubt, experiment 213
STS as the posthistory of HPS 220
Ch. 7 Knowledge Policy: Where's the Playing Field? 227
Science policy: The very idea 229
An aside on science journalism 234
Managing the unmanageable 237
The social construction of society 251
The constructive rhetoric of knowledge policy 255
Armed for policy: Fad-laden values and hypothetical imperatives 262
Machiavelli redux? 270
A recap on values as a prelude to politics 275
Ch. 8 Knowledge Politics: What Position Shall I Play? 277
Philosophy as protopolitics 277
Have science and democracy outgrown each other? 281
Back from postmodernism and into the public sphere 290
Beyond academic indifference 300
Postscript: The social epistemologist at the bargaining table 307
Ch. 9 Opposing the Relativist 319
The Socratic legacy to relativism 319
The sociology of knowledge debates: Will the real relativist please stand up? 321
Interlude I: An inventory of relativisms 324
Interlude II: Mannheim's realistic relativism 326
Is relativism obsolete? 328
Counterrelativist models of knowledge production 335
Ch. 10 Opposing the Antitheorist 347
A Fish story about theory 347
What exactly does "Theory has no consequences" mean? 352
Fish's positivistic theory of "theory" 354
Toward a more self-critical positivist theory of "theory" 358
The universality, abstractness, and foolproofness of theory 360
Convention, autonomy, and Fish's "paper radicalism" 363
Consequential theory: An account of presumption 367
Postscript: The World of Tomorrow, as Opposed to the World of Today 377
Appendix: Course Outlines For Science and Technology Studies in a Rhetorical Key 383
References 393
Index 415
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