The One Culture?: A Conversation about Science

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So far the "Science Wars" have generated far more heat than light. Combatants from one or the other of what C. P. Snow famously called "the two cultures" (science versus the arts and humanities) have launched bitter attacks but have seldom engaged in constructive dialogue about the central issues. In The One Culture?, Jay A. Labinger and Harry Collins have gathered together some of the world's foremost scientists and sociologists of science to exchange opinions and ideas rather than insults. The contributors find surprising areas of broad agreement in a genuine conversation about science, its legitimacy and authority as a means of understanding the world, and whether science studies undermines the practice and findings of science and scientists.

The One Culture? is organized into three parts. The first consists of position papers written by scientists and sociologists of science, which were distributed to all the participants. The second presents commentaries on these papers, drawing out and discussing their central themes and arguments. In the third section, participants respond to these critiques, offering defenses, clarifications, and modifications of their positions.

Who can legitimately speak about science? What is the proper role of scientific knowledge? How should scientists interact with the rest of society in decision making? Because science occupies such a central position in the world today, such questions are vitally important. Although there are no simple solutions, The One Culture? does show the reader exactly what is at stake in the Science Wars, and provides a valuable framework for how to go about seeking the answers we so urgently need.

Contributors include:
Constance K. Barsky, Jean Bricmont, Harry Collins, Peter Dear, Jane
Gregory, Jay A. Labinger, Michael Lynch, N. David Mermin, Steve
Miller, Trevor Pinch, Peter R. Saulson, Steven Shapin, Alan Sokal,
Steven Weinberg, Kenneth G. Wilson

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226467221
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jay A. Labinger is a research chemist and administrator of the Beckman Institute at the California Institute of Technology.

Harry Collins is a Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology and director of the Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise, and Science at Cardiff University.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Does Science Studies Undermine Science? Wittgenstein, Turing, and Polanyi as Precursors for Science Studies and the Science Wars 13
3 Science and Sociology of Science: Beyond War and Peace 27
4 Is a Science Peace Process Necessary? 48
5 Caught in the Crossfire? The Public's Role in the Science Wars 61
6 Life inside a Case Study 73
7 Conversing Seriously with Sociologists 83
8 How to be Antiscientific 99
9 Physics and History 116
10 Science Studies as Epistemography 128
11 From Social Construction to Questions for Research: The Promise of the Sociology of Science 142
12 A Martian Sends a Postcard Home 156
13 Awakening a Sleeping Giant? 167
14 Remarks on Methodological Relativism and "Antiscience" 179
15 One More Round with Relativism 184
16 Overdetermination and Contingency 196
17 Reclaiming Responsibility 201
18 Split Personalities, or the Science Wars Within 206
19 Situated Knowledge and Common Enemies: Therapy for the Science Wars 210
20 Real Essences and Human Experience 216
21 It's a Conversation! 221
22 Confessions of a Believer 227
23 Barbarians at Which Gates? 233
24 Peace at Last? 238
25 Reply to Our Critics 243
26 Crown Jewels and Rough Diamonds: The Source of Science's Authority 255
27 Another Visit to Epistemography 261
28 Let's Not Get Too Agreeable 263
29 Causality, Grammar, and Working Philosophies: Some Final Comments 268
30 Readings and Misreadings 275
31 Peace for Whom and on Whose Terms? 280
32 Pilgrims' Progress 283
33 Historiographical Uses of Scientific Knowledge 289
34 Beyond Social Construction 291
35 Conclusion 296
References 303
Contributors 317
Index 323
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