Science and Society

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SOSC 111
Kevin Dew

Science and Society The argument – science is not external to society Does science sit outside of social influences? The idea that science is an institution, infused in society Science: a system of acquiring knowledge through observation and experimentation Also:  A cultural authority from which we can judge truth from falsity, deviance from normality  Politics by other means  A social institution with its own rewards and punishments Thomas Kuhn  Science is a social institution in which people are socialized and become committed to a paradigm with its own values and beliefs and procedures and rules by a given community  Normal science is conservative – it is resistant to challenging ideas, Kuhn argues that science as an institution is conservative  Anomalies lead to revolution – new paradigm – the potential for a revolutionary change – major shifts in scientific thinking e.g. Ptolemy’s universe to Copernicus’s universe, all the assumptions change  Paradigms are incommensurable  Science is a social institution The Ideals of Science – Robert Merton  Communism – the idea that scientists should share their ideals, not keep anything to themselves, free exchange of ideas. Generating idea
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