By John H. Zammito

ISBN-10: 0226978621

ISBN-13: 9780226978628

Since the Fifties, many philosophers of technology have attacked positivism—the conception that medical wisdom is grounded in target truth. Reconstructing the background of those evaluations, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technological know-how are quite often invoked, they really supply 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 average sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for solution. This linguistic flip ended in claims that technological know-how has to be located in either old and social contexts, however the claims of modern "science experiences" basically deepened the philosophical problem. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism offers the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and medical perform, offering really a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technology studies.

Filling a spot 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 resources for A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour

Sample text

Quine's empiricism in epistemology carries him over to behaviorism in linguistics. Not only is Quine conceiving epistemology as empiricist ("sensory experience"), he is also intent on its social character ("learned language"). "Each of us learns his language by observing other people's verbal behavior and having his own faltering verbal behavior observed and reinforced or corrected by others. "273 Language is socially inculcated and controlled; the inculcation and control turn strictly on the keying of sentences to shared stimulation.

247 All along, Quine had in mind that the "intended notion of n1atter of fact ... be taken naturalistically within our scientific theory of the world. "248 Still, "facts of the matter" are immanent or "internal to our theory of nature. "249 It is impossible to take a stance outside a theory (language), and hence any staten1ent about evidence is within a theory. As Gibson puts it, "there are no unique evidential relations to be found between sensory evidence and the theories it supports. "250 There is no theory-neutral observationa I language, to use the terminology of Mary Hesse.

There is a "fact of the matter" about the world for Quine, because he adopts as his ontology the views of contemporary natural science. Physicalism postulates that all there is, ultimately, is the world of physics, the world physics as a research science has unearthed, or the world according to the latest theory of physics. But is such physicalism a warranted adoption? 219 As Quine idiosyncratically holds it, physicalism entails further a commitment to a (strong or weak) reductionism of all other scientific inquiries into physics, and an epistemological concomitant, namely, that only in the measure that evidence can be produced in terms of the latest standing theory of physics is there warrant for any claim in second-order science.

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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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