By Noretta Koertge
Cultural critics say that "science is politics through different means," arguing that the result of medical inquiry are profoundly formed by means of the ideological agendas of strong elites. They base their claims on historic case reviews purporting to teach the systematic intrusion of sexist, racist, capitalist, colonialist, and/or expert pursuits into the very content material of technological know-how. during this hard-hitting choice of essays, individuals provide crisp and particular opinions of case experiences provided through the cultural critics as facts that clinical effects let us know extra approximately social context than they do in regards to the wildlife. Pulling no punches, they establish quite a few crude actual errors (e.g. that Newton by no means played any experiments) and egregious blunders of omission, similar to the try to clarify the gradual improvement of fluid dynamics exclusively by way of gender bias. the place there are beneficial properties of a improper account, or anything to be realized from it, they don't hesitate to claim so. Their aim is shoddy scholarship.
Comprising new essays via individual students of background, philosophy, and technology, this publication increases a full of life debate to a brand new point of seriousness.
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Additional info for A House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science
Nevertheless, I now want to suggest that certain contributions to Science Studies, including some that have been vigorously criticized, could prove genuinely useful in responding to the real challenges that confront us. 47 Beyond the “Science Wars” So far, my discussion has been largely critical. Although I have defended science studies, my main aim has been to identify where Science Studies has gone wrong and how it leaves the most important issues unaddressed. But as I have noted in passing, I believe that there are valuable insights in works that have become icons of the field, even though those insights are compromised by argumentative overextensions.
Their views about what is important to people involved in political debates are entirely sensible—and entirely atheoretical. An earlier generation of sociologists of science conceived their subject differently. Robert Merton and his successors (now typically—and unfairly—scorned by Science Studies) wanted to try to understand the causal processes in scientific communities; they hoped to do for science what other sociologists (then and since) have done for other areas of human life. Contemporary sociology has well-developed subdisciplines that study religious affiliation and organization, crime and socially deviant behavior, and so forth.
Sociologists of science sometimes offer interesting studies of historical or contemporary groups that deploy commonsense ideas about social interactions and individual interests: Shapin and Schaffer's study of the Hobbes–Boyle controversy is a case in point. I shall not reiterate the criticisms offered by others (or by myself on other occasions) but recognize—as indeed Gross and Levitt seem to do—the fine detail about the political disputes in which Boyle and Hobbes were embroiled. Yet like Hull and me, Shapin and Schaffer do not draw on any antecedent general view of social causation.