What's Wrong with Science and Technology Studies? What Needs to Be Done to Put It Right?,

Raffaelle Pisano, ed., A Bridge between Conceptual Frameworks: Sciences, Society and Technology Studies, Springer, Dordrecht, 2015, pp. vii-xxxvii. : http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1400296/

After a sketch of the optimism and high aspirations of History and Philosophy of Science when I first joined the field in the mid 1960s, I go on to describe the disastrous impact of "the strong programme" and social constructivism in history and sociology of science.  Despite Alan Sokal's brilliant spoof article, and the "science wars" that flared up partly as a result, the whole field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) is still adversely affected by social constructivist ideas.  I then go on to spell out how in my view STS ought to develop.  It is, to begin with, vitally important to recognize the profoundly problematic character of the aims of science.  There are substantial, influential and highly problematic metaphysical, value and political assumptions built into these aims.  Once this is appreciated, it becomes clear that we need a new kind of science which subjects problematic aims - problematic assumptions inherent in these aims - to sustained imaginative and critical scrutiny as an integral part of science itself.  This needs to be done in an attempt to improve the aims and methods of science as science proceeds.  The upshot is that science, STS, and the relationship between the two, are all transformed.  STS becomes an integral part of science itself.  And becomes a part of an urgently needed campaign to transform universities so that they become devoted to helping humanity create a wiser world.


(My publication)Posted:May 31 2015, 06:00 PM by NickMaxwell
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