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

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University of Chicago Press, Feb 15, 2004 - Philosophy - 390 pages
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Since the 1950s, many philosophers of science have attacked positivism—the theory that scientific knowledge is grounded in objective reality. Reconstructing the history of these critiques, John H. Zammito argues that while so-called postpositivist theories of science are very often invoked, they actually provide little support for fashionable postmodern approaches to science studies.

Zammito shows how problems that Quine and Kuhn saw in the philosophy of the natural sciences inspired a turn to the philosophy of language for resolution. This linguistic turn led to claims that science needs to be situated in both historical and social contexts, but the claims of recent "science studies" only deepened the philosophical quandary. In essence, Zammito argues that none of the problems with positivism provides the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and scientific practice, delivering quite a blow to the "discipline" postmodern science studies.

Filling a gap in scholarship to date, A Nice Derangement of Epistemes will appeal to historians, philosophers, philosophers of science, and the broader scientific community.
 

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Contents

1 From Positivism to Postpositivism
6
Quine and Postpostivism in the Philosophy of Science
15
3 Living in Different Worlds? Kuhns Misadventures with Incommensurability
52
4 Doing Kuhn One Better? The Failed Marriage of History and Philosophy of Science
90
The Strong Program and the Social Construction of Science
123
Social Constructivism and the Turn to Microsociological Studies
151
Hybrid Discourses
183
Radical Reflexivity and the Science Wars
232
The Hyperbolic Derangement of Epistemes
271
Notes
277
Index
371
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About the author (2004)

John H. Zammito is the John Antony Weir Professor of History at Rice University. He is the author, most recently, of Kant, Herder, and the Birth of Anthropology and of The Genesis of Kant's Critique of Judgment, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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