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History of Science and its Sociological Reconstructions

History of Science and its Sociological Reconstructions Hist. Sci., xx (1982) HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND ITS SOCIOLOGICAL RECONSTRUCTIONS Steven Shapin Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University INTRODUCTION One can either debate the possibility of the sociology of scientific knowledge or one can do it. If this seems a provocative claim it may be because it appears to contradict current folk-wisdom among many phil­ osophers of science and some historians. This wisdom holds that there are as yet no examples of work in the history of science that show the propriety and value of a sociological approach to scientific knowledge, Over the past decade the communal wisdom has been continually intoned: there is, for example, Ben-David's assertion that a sociology of error and distortion, a sociology of blind-alleys and wrong pathways, is permitted, while "the possibilities for either an interactional or institutional sociology of the conceptual and theoretical contents of science are extremely limited" ,I * In 1974 Rupert Hall judged that "The fruits of the post-Kuhn alliance between sociology and science have yet to be seen". 2 And more recently Professor Laudan has echoed Mannheim's half-century old remark that "the most important task of the sociology of knowledge .. .is to demonstrate its [explanatory] capacity in actual http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Science SAGE

History of Science and its Sociological Reconstructions

History of Science , Volume 20 (3): 55 – Sep 1, 1982

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References (115)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 1982 SAGE Publications
ISSN
0073-2753
eISSN
1753-8564
DOI
10.1177/007327538202000301
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Hist. Sci., xx (1982) HISTORY OF SCIENCE AND ITS SOCIOLOGICAL RECONSTRUCTIONS Steven Shapin Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University INTRODUCTION One can either debate the possibility of the sociology of scientific knowledge or one can do it. If this seems a provocative claim it may be because it appears to contradict current folk-wisdom among many phil­ osophers of science and some historians. This wisdom holds that there are as yet no examples of work in the history of science that show the propriety and value of a sociological approach to scientific knowledge, Over the past decade the communal wisdom has been continually intoned: there is, for example, Ben-David's assertion that a sociology of error and distortion, a sociology of blind-alleys and wrong pathways, is permitted, while "the possibilities for either an interactional or institutional sociology of the conceptual and theoretical contents of science are extremely limited" ,I * In 1974 Rupert Hall judged that "The fruits of the post-Kuhn alliance between sociology and science have yet to be seen". 2 And more recently Professor Laudan has echoed Mannheim's half-century old remark that "the most important task of the sociology of knowledge .. .is to demonstrate its [explanatory] capacity in actual

Journal

History of ScienceSAGE

Published: Sep 1, 1982

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