Chapter

Does Science Studies Undermine Science? Wittgenstein, Turing, and Polanyi as Precursors for Science Studies and the Science Wars

Trevor Pinch

in The One Culture?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780226467221
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226467245.003.0002
Does Science Studies Undermine Science? Wittgenstein, Turing, and Polanyi as Precursors for Science Studies and the Science Wars

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The “science wars” refers to a debate raging within the academy and without over the status of fields like science and technology studies and cultural studies of science and technology. The debate has largely been initiated by natural scientists who have written books and made public statements critical of science studies and what they take to be some of its central ideas. The idea of the two cultures was made famous by C. P. Snow in the 1950s. It has come to refer to the separate self-contained cultures of the humanities and of the natural sciences. The two cultures were held to be largely ignorant of each other. What is perhaps surprising is why the two cultures have been able to coexist peacefully for so long. Aside from one or two skirmishes, such as that between Wittgenstein and Turing, the science wars are more the exception than the rule. It is important to note that radical disjunctions in our cultural sensibilities and practices need not necessarily lead to clashes. As long as each culture can flourish, receive ample material resources and symbolic legitimation, there need be little reason for dissent.

Keywords: science studies; science wars; science and technology; natural science; symbolic legitimation; material resources

Chapter.  5931 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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