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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Conversing Seriously with Sociologists

Conversing Seriously with Sociologists

(p.83) Chapter 7 Conversing Seriously with Sociologists
The One Culture?

N. David Mermin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter reexamines exchanges with sociologists on relativity, with a view to identifying avoidable ways in which they misunderstood each other, seeing what residual disagreements remain, and noting the many similarities with a more recent exchange had with Barry Barnes and David Bloor about their textbook Scientific Knowledge. The sociologist or historian clearly must distinguish what was known at the time under study from what is currently known. It is all too easy for late-twentieth-century knowledge to induce anachronistic misinterpretations of how knowledge developed in the early twentieth century. All the historic folklore physicists tell each other suffers from such distortion. But preventing such contamination by prohibiting any use of or reference to contemporary knowledge has its own risks.

Keywords:   academic exchanges, relativity, folklore physicists, contemporary knowledge, sociologists, David Bloor

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