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The One Culture?A Conversation about Science$
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Jay A. Labinger and Harry Collins

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226467221

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226467245.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
The One Culture?
University of Chicago Press

To characterize concisely the challenges posed by the new science studies is not easy. To simplify, they might be represented in terms of opposed conceptual clusters—for example, realism/rationalism/objectivism versus relativism/constructivism/subjectivism. The “new” science studies (now a quarter-century old) generally emphasize the latter cluster. They focus on the role of human factors in science and how scientific knowledge is contingent on and constructed by the operation of these factors—the social character of scientific institutions, the culture in which scientific investigation takes place, the language used to express scientific findings, etc. The contrasting position—held by the vast majority of scientists themselves as well as more traditional science studiers—places greater stress on how scientific knowledge is determined by the natural world and codified by the objective examination of that world.

Keywords:   science studies, human factors, scientific knowledge, scientific institutions, objective examination, relativism

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