By John H. Zammito

ISBN-10: 0226978621

ISBN-13: 9780226978628

Since the Nineteen Fifties, many philosophers of technology have attacked positivism—the concept that clinical wisdom is grounded in aim truth. Reconstructing the heritage of those opinions, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technological know-how are quite often invoked, they really supply little aid for stylish postmodern techniques to technology studies.

Zammito exhibits how difficulties that Quine and Kuhn observed within the philosophy of the typical sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for solution. This linguistic flip resulted in claims that technology should be positioned in either historic and social contexts, however the claims of contemporary "science reviews" in basic terms deepened the philosophical predicament. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism presents the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and clinical perform, providing really a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technology studies.

Filling a spot in scholarship to this point, A great Derangement of Epistemes will attract historians, philosophers, philosophers of technology, and the wider medical community.

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Additional info for A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour

Sample text

There is, as Quine himself would affirm, the set of what we might call coherence constraints, for example, simplicity or conservatism, which would promote one theory over another, even given the same evidence base. 137 Second, there is the Bayesian probability model for which, given differing prior probabilities, the same evidence base will result in different posterior theoretical probability. 138 Finally, other evidence, not logically entailed by the thesis, can nevertheless bear upon its validity by confirming or disconfirming elements in the background of the theory or confirming or disconfirming a consequence that is entailed tangentially by the theory.

He holds that they "overreacted" against traditional epistemology with their formulation of the "theory-laden" nature of all observation. 237 Quine insists that "we must recognize degrees of observationality. " Quine wishes to hold that the holophrastic usage of the observation sentence is the vehicle both for language learning and for evidential support, but he recognizes that the outward, the intersubjective use of observation sentences, is piecemeal: "Piecemeal is how the sentence relates to scientific theory, where its words recur in new combinations and contexts.

269 That is precisely what the so-called sociology of scientific knowledge has done, but to establish this connection we will have to consider the other great fountainhead of post-positivism, Thomas Kuhn's The Structure ofScientific Revolutions. Before we make that fateful turn, it behooves us to ask whether there is not a philosophical recourse to rescue naturalized epistemology from Quine's contradictions. Rescuing Naturalized Epistemology from Its Founder Quine is clear that the theoretical account for the assimilation of sensory excitation into linguistic utterance is not yet available.

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A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour by John H. Zammito


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