In recent decades, it has been argued that the social dimensions of science are more nearly constitutive of science, both as activity and as product. The ten essays in this volume examine the historical origins of this new emphasis on the social dimensions of science, which has its roots in Thomas Kuhn's claim that "The choice between competing paradigms proves to be a choice between incompatible modes of community life".;Sociologists of science have since carried the theme of science as social construction much further than Kuhn did, some of them claiming that the activities of scientists have at all times reflected the larger groupings - political, economic, sexual - to which scientists necessarily belong. For a deeper understanding of the history of science, they argue that one must push beyond the conventional emphasis on ideas and reasons to discern the variety of social interests that shape even the very content of the science itself.;Here the contributors explore some suggestive case histories from recent science, such as the cold fusion claims of Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, and ask where the rather fundamental disagreements between different exponents of the "social turn" may lead. Taken together, these essays aim to give a good sense of the debates that may alter our image of what "science" is.
The Social Dimensions of Science - Studies in Science & the Humanities from the Reilly Center for
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