Second, the boundary is not an imaginary one, that is to say besides what is scientific and what is unscientific there also is what lies at the boundary, certain research practices which are neither wholly scientific nor fully unscientific. Third, studying what is science is itself a kind of research belonging to the boundary, since the methods available in that research are not as strictly rigorous as those used in science proper; in fact, all of philosophy is included in the boundary in question. They are very similar to sorites arguments. That kind of argument is by no means absurd or entirely unconvincing.
Historical Background Philosophers who study the social character of scientific knowledge can trace their lineage at least as far as John Stuart Mill.
Mill, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Karl Popper all took some type of critical interaction among persons as central to the validation of knowledge claims.
Mill argues from the fallibility of human knowers to the necessity of unobstructed opportunity for and practice of the critical discussion of ideas. Only such critical discussion can assure us of the justifiability of the true beliefs we do have and can help us avoid falsity or the partiality of belief or opinion framed in the context of just one point of view.
Critical interaction maintains the freshness of our reasons and is instrumental in the improvement of both the content and the reasons of our beliefs. The achievement of knowledge, then, is a social or collective, not an individual, matter. Whatever the correct reading of this particular statement, Peirce elsewhere makes it clear that, in his view, truth is both attainable and beyond the reach of any individual.
Peirce puts great stock in instigating doubt and critical interaction as means to knowledge. Thus, whether his theory of truth is consensualist or realist, his view of the practices by which we attain it grants a central place to dialogue and social interaction.
Popper is often treated as a precursor of social epistemology because of his emphasis on the importance of criticism in the development of scientific knowledge. Two concepts of criticism are found in his works Popperand these can be described as logical and practical senses of falsification.
The logical sense of falsification is just the structure of a modus tollens argument, in which a hypothesis is falsified by the demonstration that one of its logical consequences is false.
This is one notion of criticism, but it is a matter of formal relations between statements. This is a social activity. For Popper the methodology of science is falsificationist in both its logical and practical senses, and science progresses through the demonstration by falsification of the untenability of theories and hypotheses.
The work of Mill, Peirce, and Popper is a resource for philosophers presently exploring the social dimensions of scientific knowledge.
However, the current debates are framed in the context of developments in both philosophy of science and in history and social studies of science following the collapse of the logical empiricist consensus. The philosophers of the Vienna Circle are conventionally associated with an uncritical form of positivism and with the logical empiricism that replaced American pragmatism in the s and s.
According to some recent scholars, however, they saw natural science as a potent force for progressive social change. Cartwright, Cat, and Chang ; Giere and Richardson, eds. While one development of this point of view leads to scientism, the view that any meaningful question can be answered by the methods of science; another development leads to inquiry into what social conditions promote the growth of scientific knowledge.
Logical empiricism, the version of Vienna Circle philosophy that developed in the United States, focused on logical, internal aspects of scientific knowledge and discouraged philosophical inquiry into the social dimensions of science.
This family of positions provoked a counter-response among philosophers. These responses are marked by an effort to acknowledge some social dimensions to scientific knowledge while at the same time maintaining its epistemological legitimacy, which they take to be undermined by the new sociology.
At the same time, features of the organization of scientific inquiry compel philosophers to consider their implications for the normative analysis of scientific practices. Big Science, Trust, and Authority The second half of the twentieth century saw the emergence of what has come to be known as Big Science: Theoretical and experimental physicists located at various sites across the country, though principally at Los Alamos, New Mexico, worked on sub-problems of the project under the overall direction of J.
While academic and military research have since been to some degree separated, much experimental research in physics, especially high energy particle physics, continues to be pursued by large teams of researchers.
Research in other areas of science as well, for example the work comprehended under the umbrella of the Human Genome Project, has taken on some of the properties of Big Science, requiring multiple forms of expertise. In addition to the emergence of Big Science, the transition from small scale university or even amateur science to institutionalized research with major economic impacts supported by national funding bodies and connected across international borders has seemed to call for new ethical and epistemological thinking.
Moreover, the consequent dependence of research on central funding bodies and increasingly, private foundations or commercial entities, prompts questions about the degree of independence of contemporary scientific knowledge from its social and economic context. John Hardwig articulated one philosophical dilemma posed by large teams of researchers.
Each member or subgroup participating in such a project is required because each has a crucial bit of expertise not possessed by any other member or subgroup. This may be knowledge of a part of the instrumentation, the ability to perform a certain kind of calculation, the ability to make a certain kind of measurement or observation.
The consequence is an experimental result, for example, the measurement of a property such as the decay rate or spin of a given particle the evidence for which is not fully understood by any single participant in the experiment.
This leads Hardwig to ask two questions, one about the evidential status of testimony, and one about the nature of the knowing subject in these cases. With respect to the latter, Hardwig says that either the group as a whole, but no single member, knows or it is possible to know vicariously.
Neither of these is palatable to him. Talking about the group or the community knowing smacks of superorganisms and transcendent entities and Hardwig shrinks from that solution.
Vicarious knowledge, knowing without oneself possessing the evidence for the truth of what one knows, requires, according to Hardwig, too much of a departure from our ordinary concepts of knowledge. The first question is, as Hardwig notes, part of a more general discussion about the epistemic value of testimony.The rationalist approach to gathering knowledge says that truth can be found by reasoning and argument alone.
Such knowledge is inductive and developed from first principles. Though this approach to gaining knowledge is invaluable, it is empirical research and the rigors of the scientific method that are most expected in true scientific research. Boundary between Scientific and Non Scientific knowledge: Whether there is boundary between scientific and non scientific knowledge?
In order to examine this, there are several factors and importance we need to notice, some of them are: Accepting the wrong conclusion, so that research is made to find the actual truth (knowledge).
Knowledge, for Popper, was objective, both in the sense that it is objectively true (or truthlike), and also in the sense that knowledge has an ontological status (i.e., knowledge as object) independent of the knowing subject (Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach, ).
Non-Scientific Methods ‘Non-science’ means more than that which is antithetical to science. As sources of human knowledge, non-scientific approaches such as philosophy, theology, and art have usefully guided visions of the ‘why’ of our existence, our interactions with one another, or defined morality/ethics.
In these areas, the philosophical attempts at identifying a set of methods characteristic for scientific endeavors are closely related to the philosophy of science’s classical problem of demarcation (see the entry on science and pseudo-science) and to the philosophical analysis of the social dimension of scientific knowledge and the role of science in democratic society.
The paper analyzes the role of epistemology in contemporary science study. According to the representatives of cultural approach to scientific cognition the latter should be considered regardless of the issues of falsity or truth, which excludes epistemology from the sphere of science investigation.