The Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies

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Psychology Press, 2006 - 191 pages
Acknowledgments p. ix I Introduction: The Conspicuous Absence of Philosophy from Science and Technology Studies p. 1 II The Sociology of Knowledge: The Philosophical Backdrop to STS p. 11 1 Philosophical Foundations and Main Sociological Traditions p. 11 2 Science as a Special Problem for the Sociology of Knowledge p. 14 3 Kuhn's Checkered Legacy to STS p. 21 4 The Punch Line: A Sociology of Science that is not a Sociology of Knowledge p. 28 5 Relativism and the Illusion of Autonomy in Science p. 30 6 STS's Janus-faced Antirealism: Relativism versus Constructivism p. 35 7 Conclusion: So is Relativism the Wrong Target? p. 39 III Philosophy In, Of, and Beyond the Scientific Field Site p. 45 8 Making Philosophy Safe for STS: The Rise of the Underlaborer p. 45 9 Philosophy by Sociological Means: STS as Fieldwork p. 49 10 STS Catches Philosophy by the Achilles' Heel: The Problem of Replication p. 54 11 What Is Living and Undead in Actor-network Theory p. 58 12 STS Fieldwork as a Reflection of the Shifting Material Conditions of Scientific Work p. 67 13 New Horizons for Laboratory Life: Science as a Site of Generational Conflict and Jurisdictional Ambiguity p. 72 IV "Postmodern Positivism": STS by Another Name? p. 79 14 Platonism as Proto-Positivism p. 79 15 The Dialectical History of Positivism p. 82 16 Postmodernism as Positivism's Bastard Child p. 88 17 Motivating the Science Wars: The Politics of Popularizing and Esotericizing Science p. 93 18 The Elusive "Spontaneous Philosophy of the Scientists" Defended in the Science Wars p. 98 19 Does Research Fraud Matter? Reflections on the Sokal Hoax as a Social Experiment p. 102 20 What Should Have Been Done About Sokal? What Can Be Done About Positivism? p. 108 V Re-enchanting Science: Beyond Puritans and Gnostics p. 115 21 The Science Wars as Signaling the End of Scientific Puritanism p. 115 22 The Secularization of Science as a Precondition to its Re-enchantment p. 122 23 Re-enchanting Science with a Vengeance: Gnostic Scientism p. 127 24 Prolegomena to the Hidden History of Gnostic Biology p. 133 25 Distinguishing the Enchanted and Disenchanted Mind: The Mark of Theodicy p. 141 26 Two Disenchanted Theodicies: Invisible Hand and Natural Selection p. 145 27 The Cost of Disenchantment: A Failed Scientific Defense of Human Freedom p. 149 28 Conclusions: Meeting Weber's Challenge and Transcending the Science Wars p. 152 VI Citizen Science: Cultivating a Life in STS p. 157 29 Introduction: Beware of Greeks Bearing Historical Precedents p. 157 30 Expertise and Its Discontents: Some Institutional Alternatives p. 160 31 Institutionalizing the Public Understanding of Science in Consensus Conferences p. 164 32 The Prospects for Scientific Citizenship Today p. 171 33 Conclusion: Toward a Rhetorical Reclamation of Science p. 174 Bibliography p. 181 Index p. 189.

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Science’s place in society is not as well understood by the public as other subjects. The author is a social constructivist; humanity is a goal. STS applies theories of humanities and social sciences to science and technology. This book covers the European and American history. It is descended from positivism and has field methods of research. Actor-network theory is the main one, e.g. Isabelle Stengers or Bruno Latour. This is a cross-disciplinary academic field sometimes likened to a scaffold for specialties. Technology studies is a subfield added in the mid-80s. The public is taught citizen science and ways to consider technical issues of consequence. Technoscience is an undifferentiated combination of science and technology. Scientific authorities are respected for extreme rationality and have their own interpretations of STS and its research. The Science Wars of the 90s pitted realists and critics of scientific theory against eachother. Science has social organization, politics, and control over public relations. Quality is affected by who it is that researchers are accountable to. Institutional science followed a strategy of colonization. Thought collectives were recognized in the 1930s. Kuhn described paradigms in 70s; philosophy of rational or irrational became normal or revolutionary phases of science. There is a Heraclitean dualism between constructivism and relativism. Ideological framework presuppositions can be disintegrated and reconsidered in newer context.
As far as style, there are thirty-three chapters in six parts; Technology follows science models here; utilitarianism is not distinguished. The term artifact is used as an effect rather than in a design sense. The latter is used for theoretical policy and institutions, rather than engineering. Internet and web are sources and not subjects, though there is a recommendation for an online futures market for science-based proposals. The computation trend is not discussed. Where the frameworks are tabular in two-dimensions, Eastern formulations might add spirals or helices, e.g. to show processes, scale of abstraction or detail, and relations, e.g. counterclockwise between actor-network theory in constructivism on left and theory in relativism on right. Exception cases for each category could be expanded upon. Scifi is not considered a factor, currently subsumed in techno-adventure. There is an extensive bibliography.


The Philosophical
Philosophy In Of and Beyond the Scientific Field Site
STS by Another Name?
Beyond Puritans and Gnostics
Cultivating a Life in STS

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Steve Fuller is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, England. Formally trained in history, philosophy, and sociology of science, he is best known for his pioneering work in social epistemology. His most recent books include Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times and Knowledge Management Foundations.

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