Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Good Words

So "Science in Democracy" starts off well at least in so far as Brown's "philosophical cards" pretty much mirror my own. Here's an excerpt,

"To put my philosophical cards on the table: I am persuaded
that rationalist, essentialist, and determinist conceptions of science and
technology are neither empirically accurate nor normatively desirable.
Technological determinism may capture the ways in which many people
experience the technical imperatives that shape their lives, but it does not
offer a viable theory of scientific and technical change.8 Technical facts
and artifacts do not become socially established merely because they are
true or effective. Scientists study nature by engaging with it; nature,
scientists, and often society at large are transformed in the process. I also
take it as given, however, that scientific facts are not socially constructed,
if that means natural forces and entities play no causal role in their cre-
ation. The world does not lend itself to all possible constructions. This
perspective, common among STS scholars who study the “co-production”
of science and society, avoids radical constructivism or relativism on the
one hand, and the traditional view of scientific truth as unmediated cor-
respondence to reality on the other.9 Put in the most general terms, scien-
tific facts emerge from hybrid processes shaped by human ingenuity and
initiative, sociotechnical structures and institutions, and nonhuman enti-
ties and phenomena."

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