Chapter

From Social Construction to Questions for Research: The Promise of the Sociology of Science

Kenneth G. Wilson

Edited by Constance K. Barsky

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/9780226467245.003.0011
From Social Construction to Questions for Research: The Promise of the Sociology of Science

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This chapter discusses the issue of cultural specificity and social construction in detail. What really matters is to identify root causes for the eruption of controversy about social construction. The chapter proposes that the controversy traces back to an internal problem of the sociology of science, that the sociologists were misdirected by their reading and interpretation of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1996). It is only now becoming possible, in hindsight, to recognize the shortcomings in Kuhn's book that caused the misdirection. The chapter suggests a new interpretation of Kuhn's opus that could open up a new direction for future research in the sociology of science. It begins, however, with a question regarding the version of “truth” that scientists use, a question that has been raised by sociologists of science and that underlies a legitimate but limited role for social construction in science.

Keywords: social construction; sociology of science; Thomas Kuhn; scientific research; truth; science studies

Chapter.  5381 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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