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: 9780226467238
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 7/6/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (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
Part One: Positions
2. Does Science Studies Undermine Science? Wittgenstein, Turing, and Polanyi as Precursors for Science Studies and the Science Wars
Trevor Pinch
3. Science and Sociology of Science: Beyond War and Peace
Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal
4. Is a Science Peace Process Necessary?
Michael Lynch
5. Caught in the Crossfire? The Public’s Role in the Science Wars
Jane Gregory and Steve Miller
6. Life inside a Case Study
Peter Saulson
7. Conversing Seriously with Sociologists
N. David Mermin
8. How to be Antiscientific
Steven Shapin
9. Physics and History
Steven Weinberg
10. Science Studies as Epistemography
Peter Dear
11. From Social Construction to Questions for Research: The Promise of the Sociology of Science
Kenneth G. Wilson and Constance K. Barsky
12. A Martian Sends a Postcard Home
Harry Collins
13. Awakening a Sleeping Giant?
Jay A. Labinger
Part Two: Commentaries
14. Remarks on Methodological Relativism and "Antiscience"
Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal
15. One More Round with Relativism
Harry Collins
16. Overdetermination and Contingency
Peter Dear
17. Reclaiming Responsibility
Jane Gregory
18. Split Personalities, or the Science Wars Within
Jay A. Labinger
19. Situated Knowledge and Common Enemies: Therapy for the Science Wars
Michael Lynch
20. Real Essences and Human Experience
David Mermin
21. It’s a Conversation!
Trevor Pinch
22. Confessions of a Believer
Peter R. Saulson
23. Barbarians at Which Gates?
Steven Shapin
24. Peace at Last?
Steven Weinberg
Part Three Rebuttals
25. Reply to Our Critics
Jean Bricmont and Alan Sokal
26. Crown Jewels and Rough Diamonds: The Source of Science’s Authority
Harry Collins
27. Another Visit to Epistemography
Peter Dear
28. Let’s Not Get Too Agreeable
Jay A. Labinger
29. Causality, Grammar, and Working Philosophies: Some Final Comments
Michael Lynch
30. Readings and Misreadings
David Mermin
31. Peace for Whom and on Whose Terms?
Trevor Pinch
32. Pilgrims’ Progress
Peter Saulson
33. Historiographical Uses of Scientific Knowledge
Steven Weinberg
34. Beyond Social Construction
Kenneth G. Wilson and Constance K. Barsky
35. Conclusion

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