A House Built on Sand : Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science: Exposing Postmodernist Myths About Science (Google eBook)

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Noretta Koertge Professor of the History and Philosophy of Science Indiana University
Oxford University Press, Jul 31, 1998 - Science - 336 pages
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Cultural critics say that "science is politics by other means," arguing that the results of scientific inquiry are profoundly shaped by the ideological agendas of powerful elites. They base their claims on historical case studies purporting to show the systematic intrusion of sexist, racist, capitalist, colonialist and/or professional interests into the very content of science. Physicist Alan Sokal recently poked fun at these claims by foisting a sly parody of the genre on the unwitting editors of the cultural studies journal Social Text touching off a still unabated torrent of editorials, articles, and heated classroom and Internet discussion. This hard-hitting collection picks up where Sokal left off. The essayists offer crisp and detailed critiques of case studies offered by the cultural critics as evidence that scientific results tell us more about social context than they do about the natural world. Pulling no punches, they identify numerous crude factual blunders (e.g. that Newton never performed any experiments) and egregious errors of emission, such as the attempt to explain the slow development of fluid dynamics solely in terms of gender bias. Where there are positive aspects of a flawed account, or something to be learned from it, they do not hesitate to say so. Their target is shoddy scholarship. Comprising new essays by distinguished scholars of history, philosophy, and science (including Sokal himself), this book raises a lively debate to a new level of seriousness.
  

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Contents

What the Social Text Affair Does and Does Not Prove
9
What the Sokal Hoax Ought to Teach Us
23
A Plea for Science Studies
32
Myths Metaphors and Readings
57
Bashful Eggs Macho Sperm and Tonypandy
59
An Engineer Dissects Two Case Studies Hayles on Fluid Mechanics and MacKenzie on Statistics
71
EvidenceFree Forensics and Enemies of Objectivity
99
Is Darwinism Sexist? And if It Is So What?
119
Latours Relativity
181
Art Nature and the Rise of Experimental Method
193
In Defense of Bacon
195
Alchemy Domination and Gender
216
What Is Wrong with the Strong Programmes Case Study of theHobbesBoyle Dispute?
227
Reflections on Bruno Latours Version of the Seventeenth Century
240
Civilian Casualties of Postmodern Perspectives on Science
255
Postmodernisms and the Problem of Scientific Literacy
257

Interests Ideology and the Neglect of Experiments
131
When Experiments Fail Is Cold Fusion Science as Normal?
133
Avoiding the Experimenters Regress
151
Do Mutants Die of Natural Causes? The Case of Atomic Parity Violation
166
The End of Science the Central Dogma of Science Studies Monsieur Jourdain and Uncle Vanya
272
The Epistemic Charity of the Social Constructivist Critics of Science and Why the Third World Should Refuse the Offer
286
Index
313
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Page 12 - To slow down is to set a limit in chaos to which all speeds are subject, so that they form a variable determined as abscissa, at the same time as the limit forms a universal constant that cannot be gone beyond (for example, a maximum degree of contraction). The first functives are therefore the limit and the variable, and reference is a relationship between values of the variable or, more profoundly, the relationship of the variable, as abscissa of speeds, with the limit.

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