A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the by John H. Zammito

By John H. Zammito

Since the Fifties, many philosophers of technological know-how have attacked positivism—the thought that clinical wisdom is grounded in target fact. Reconstructing the background of those opinions, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technological know-how are quite often invoked, they really offer little aid for trendy postmodern techniques to technological know-how studies.

Zammito exhibits how difficulties that Quine and Kuhn observed within the philosophy of the traditional sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for answer. This linguistic flip ended in claims that technology has to be located in either historic and social contexts, however the claims of contemporary "science experiences" merely deepened the philosophical trouble. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism presents the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and medical perform, supplying relatively a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technological know-how studies.

Filling a niche in scholarship up to now, A great Derangement of Epistemes will entice historians, philosophers, philosophers of technological know-how, and the wider medical community.

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

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Empirically, only the contingency and fallibility of inquiry in real time have bearing. Science has long since acknowledged this, and it takes such local underdetermination robustly in stride. Second, it is not clear what implications for actual science-or more broadly, for empirical epistemology-follow even if we postulate Quine's thesis. For the global thesis can have two readings. First, it can be the reflection that it is logically possible that we may never get a definitive, total theory of the world, simply because our empirical science is too weak an instrument.

The Indeterminacy thesis advises us of the existence of too many (incompatible) translations of alien theoretical sentences into our own, consistent with all the evidence. ' "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.

We must consider each of these three concepts, both for what each professes and for the warrant Quine offers for endorsing it. We must see, yet again, how they interrelate and whether they are mutually reinforcing. And, finally, we must bring back the whole consideration to the epistemological and the ontological forms of Quine's claim for indeterminacy of translation, and we must see whether and how they feature in the arguments he has, over the course of his career, offered for that thesis. 41 42 CHAPTER TWO As with matters hitherto, it will often be his commentators rather than Quine himself who flesh out the nature of his arguments and the point of his thesis.

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