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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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Remarks on Methodological Relativism and “Antiscience”

Remarks on Methodological Relativism and “Antiscience”

(p.179) Chapter 14 Remarks on Methodological Relativism and “Antiscience”
The One Culture?

Jean Bricmont

, Alan Sokal
University of Chicago Press

Sociologists frequently admit that they don't have the background to evaluate whether the claims made by scientists (particularly concerning contemporary research) are rationally justified or not, but then they assert that they are not obliged to make any such evaluation: they are concerned with social phenomena, not with physical or biological ones, and so are perfectly justified in ignoring this latter aspect. That would perhaps be fine if their aims were more modest than those of the “Strong Programme”: if, for example, they claimed only to recount some of the factors affecting the acceptance of scientific beliefs, without purporting to judge their relative importance. But in that case they ought not claim to give a causal account of the acceptance of scientific beliefs, when important parts of the cause—usually the dominant parts, in our view—are excluded a priori from consideration.

Keywords:   methodological relativism, antiscience, Strong Programme, scientific beliefs, sociology, contemporary research

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