This seminar introduces some of the ways in which historians have approached major scientific concepts such as 'truth' and 'objectivity'. What does it mean for 'truth' to have a history? What kind of history is this? And what are the implications for the place of science in society today?
- What does it mean for 'truth' to have a 'social history'?
- Is the social history of science committed to relativism?
- Compare and contrast the approaches taken by Daston and Galison (1992) and Shapin (1994)
Daston, Lorraine and Peter Galison, ‘The Image of Objectivity’, Representations, 40 (1992)
Shapin, Steven, A Social History of Truth: Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994), chapter one, pp. 3-41.
Daston, Lorraine, and Peter Galison, Objectivity (Zone Books, 2010)
Forrester, Katrina, and Sophie Smith, Nature, Action and the Future: Political Thought and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2018)
Foucault, Michel, The Order of Things (Routledge, 2005)
Golinski, Jan, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2005)
Kuhn, Thomas S, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Latour, Bruno, and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts (Princeton University Press, 2013)
Ophir, Adi, and Steven Shapin, ‘The Place of Knowledge A Methodological Survey’, Science in Context, 4 (1991)
Pickstone, John V., ‘Ways of Knowing: Towards a Historical Sociology of Science, Technology and Medicine’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 26 (1993)
Poovey, Mary, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (University of Chicago Press, 1998)
Porter, Theodore M, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton University Press, 1996)
Steven Shapin, ‘History of science and its sociological reconstructions’, History of Science, 20 (1982)