Social Epistemology

Social Epistemology

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This is the book that launched the research program of social epistemology, which has fuelled imaginations and provoked debates across many disciplines around the world. Its opening question remains as pressing as ever: How should knowledge production be organised. The second edition contains a substantial new introduction, in which Fuller reflects on social epistemology's place in the history of analytic and continental epistemology and discusses the inspiration he has drawn from a wide variety of fields in the humanities and social sciences. It also includes a spirited attack on alternative philosophical groundings for social epistemology and a detailed response to the standard criticism that social epistemology has received from realist philosophers and natural scientists during the "Science Wars."In "Social Epistemology", Fuller seeks to reconcile normative philosophy of science and empirical sociology of knowledge. He reinterprets key problems in the philosophy of science, such as realism, the nature of objectivity, the demarcation of science from other disciplines, and the nature of our knowledge of other times and places.
In the course of this reinterpretation, which draws on concepts and arguments from many branches of the humanities and social sciences, Fuller considers such philosophically neglected questions as: How is the burden of proof determined in science? On what basis is the historian licensed to say that a "consensus" has been reached on a scientific claim? What implications do our patently imperfect means of linguistic transmission have for the notion that science "retains and accumulates" knowledge?Finally, Fuller proposes a course of "Knowledge Policy Studies" designed to make the theory of knowledge a branch of political theory and thereby to hasten the evolution of the epistemologist into a knowledge policy maker. In its new edition, the book remains a provocative contribution to the debate on the production, dissemination, and interpretation of knowledge in the sciences.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 0253215153
  • 9780253215154
  • 993,656

About Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller is Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Trained in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, he is the founding editor of the journal, Social Epistemology, and has promoted social epistemology as an interdisciplinary project in seven books, including the controversial Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times (2000) and most recently Knowledge Management Foundations (2001). His works have been published in nine languages. Social Epistemology was his first book.
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Table of contents

Introduction to the Second Edition; Foreword by Thomas Nickles; Preface; Part One: Issues in Defining the Field of Social Epistemology; 1. An Overview of Social Epistemology; 2. Social Epistemology and Social Metaphysics; Part Two: Issues in the Language and History of Knowledge Production; 3. Realism, the Moving Target of Science Studies: A Tale of Philosophers, Historians, and Sociologists in Hot Pursuit; 4. Bearing the Burden of Proof: On the Frontier of Science and History; 5. Incommensurability Explained and Defended; 6. The Inscrutability of Silence and the Problem of Knowledge in the Human Sciences; Appendix A; How to Do Subtle Things with Words - The Ins and Outs of Conceptual Scheming; Part Three: Issues in the Social Organization of Knowledge; 7. The Demarcation of Science: A Problem Whose Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated; 8. Disciplinary Boundaries: A Conceptual Map of the Field; 9. The Elusiveness of Consensus in Science; 10. From Moral Psychology to Cognitive Sociology: Making Sense of the Forman Thesis; Appendix B: Having Them Change against Their Will - Policy Simulations of Objectivity; Part Four: Issues in Knowledge for Policy-Making; 11. Toward a Revival of the Normative in the Sociology of Knowledge; 12. Social Epistemology and the Problem of Authoritarianism; Appendix C: Notes toward Designing a Core Curriculum for a Graduate Program in Knowledge Policy Studies; Bibliography; Index
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Review quote

Praise for the first edition: "Fuller's new book is advertised as provocative, and for once there is truth in advertising... [Fuller] has decisively shifted the conceptual terrain and burden of proof in major areas of the philosophy of science." Robert Ackermann "One of the freshest books that I have read in a long time. It will shake you up. You will not always agree with Fuller, but he will force you to rethink some of your pet conceptions about how science works." Isis "A sourcebook of provocative suggestions for rethinking [classical epistemology]." Contemporary Psychology "Not a book which can easily be ignored... a major statement on a possible future for science studies." Metascience "How can epistemologists and sociologists be convinced of the need of wedding philosophy to social science? Fuller's response to this question occupies some three hundred dense pages teeming with ideas." Michel Callon
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Rating details

13 ratings
3.46 out of 5 stars
5 23% (3)
4 31% (4)
3 23% (3)
2 15% (2)
1 8% (1)
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