Scientific Controversies : A Socio-Historical Perspective on the Advancement of Science book cover
1st Edition

Scientific Controversies
A Socio-Historical Perspective on the Advancement of Science

Edited By

Dominique Raynaud

ISBN 9781412855716
Published April 30, 2015 by Routledge
320 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

In Scientific Controversies, Dominque Raynaud shows how organized debates in the sciences help us establish or verify our knowledge of the world. If debates focus on form, scientific controversies are akin to public debates that can be understood within the framework of theories of conflict. If they focus on content, then such controversies have to do with a specific activity and address the nature of science itself. Understanding the major focus of a scientific controversy is a first step toward understanding these debates and assessing their merits.

Controversies of unique socio-historic context, disciplines, and characteristics are examined: Pasteur's germ theory and Pouchet's theory of spontaneous generation; vitalism advocated at Montpellier versus experimental medicine in Paris; the science of optics about the propagation of visual rays; the origins of relativism (the Duhem-Quine problem). Touching on the work of Boudon, Popper, and others, Raynaud puts forward an incrementalist theory about the advancement of science through scientific controversies.

The debates Raynaud has selected share in common their pivotal importance to the history of the sciences. By understanding the role of controversy, we better understand the functioning of science and the stakes of the contemporary scientific debates.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables

Introduction: Controversies at the Crossroads of two Specialties
1 The Sociology of Science
2 The Sociology of Conflict
3 Elements for a Classification
1 The Object
2 Polarity
3 Extent
4 Intensity
5 Duration
6 Forum
7 Recognition
8 Settlement

1 Relativism and Rationalism: A Metacontroversy
1 The Guiding Notions in the Debate
1 The Relativist Approach
2 The Rationalist Approach

2 The Debate within the Sociology of the Sciences
1 The Relativist Arguments
2 The Rationalist Arguments

3 Relativists versus Rationalists: The Place of Controversies

2 The Controversy between Pasteur and Pouchet: An Essay on the Principle of Accumulated Asymmetries
1 A Chronicle of the Controversy
2 An Inventory of Asymmetries
1 Ambiguous Asymmetries
1 Parisian versus provincial
2 Corresponding member versus full member of the french academy of sciences60
3 Close versus distant ties with the emperor
4 Researchers acting in good or bad faith

2 Hidden Asymmetries
1Professional versus dilettante
2Well-established researcher versus young aspiring researcher
3Prolific versus modestly productive researcher
4Scientific style: Demonstration versus illustration
5The skeptical versus the committed attitude
6Upstanding researcher versus dishonest counterfeiter

3 The Social Conditioning of Science
1 Pasteur and Pouchet
2 The family of the Heterogenists
3 Theology and Spontaneous Generation
4 Conclusions

3 The Vitalism-Organicism Controversy between Paris and Montpellier: An Essay on the Social Determination of -Knowledge
1 A Chronicle of the Controversy
2 The Prestige of the School of Montpellier
1 Student Enrollment
2 Access to Knowledge

3 Sociohistorical Analysis
1 Internal Factors
1 The interpretation of the clinical signs
2 The methods
3 Doctrine

2 External Factors
1 Scientific productivity
2 The philosophical presuppositions
3 The institutional framework
4 Professional interests
5 Political values and institutional affiliations

4 Conclusions
1 Productivity and Scientific Content
2 The Failure of the Notion of Determination

4 Intromission versus Extramission in Oxford: An Essay on the Norms of Rationality
1 Extramission versus Intromission
1 The Thesis of Extramission
1 The existence of phosphenes
2 The selectivity of the eye
3 The spherical form of the eye
4 The phosphorescence of the eye of the feline
5 The corruption of mirrors
6 The recessing of the eye
2 The Thesis of Intromission
1The absence of night vision in man
2The pain caused by bright light
3The absence of instantaneous propagation of light1
4The impossibility of immensely long visual rays
2 The Arguments Presented by the Three Oxonians
1 The Position of Grosseteste
2 The Position of Bacon
3 The Position of Pecham
3 Sociohistorical Analysis
1 The Medieval Norms of Rationality
2 The Authority of Saint Augustine
3 Questions of Authority
4 A Rational Choice?

4 Conclusions

5 Al-Samarqand's Native Theory of Controversies: An -Essay on the Negotiation of Truth
1 Science, Politics, and Negotiation
2 Samarqand's Theory of the Scholarly Dispute
1 Samarqand's Interest in the Nature and Resolution of Controversies
2 Samarqand's Juridical Model

3 Two Antinomic Models
1 The Order of the Debate
2 The Weapons of the Disputant
3 The Settlement of Controversies

4 Conclusions
1 Samarqand's Internal Epistemology
2 Samarqand's Indifference to the Negotiation of Truth
3 Samarqand's Juridical Model
4 A Contribution to the Analysis of the Settlement of Controversies

6 The SSK in the Name of Prestigious Ancestors: Duhem, Quine and Wittgenstein
1 Pierre Duhem
1 Epistemic Holism
First argument
Second argument
2 Underdetermination of Theory
First argument
Second argument

2 Willard Quine
1 Epistemic Holism
First argument
Second argument
Third argument
2 Underdetermination of Theory
First argument
Second argument
Third argument

3 Ludwig Wittgenstein
1 The Conventional Nature of Knowledge
2 The Language-Games
First argument
Second argument
Third argument

4 Conclusions

Conclusion: Toward an Epistemological Incrementalism
1 Sociological Conclusion
1 Interests and Values
1 Why should values be introduced into a model of controversies?
2 In what way do scientific controversies differ from other forms of conflict?
2 Cognitive Interests and Values

2 Epistemological Conclusions
1 The Falsificationist Thesis
2 Falsificationism versus Verificationism?
Case 1 The faulty logical framework does not ruin the conclusion
Case 2 The faulty logical framework does ruin the conclusion
3 Toward Incrementalism

Appendix 1: The Works published by Pasteur and Pouchet
Appendix 2: The Primary Archives on the Pasteur-Pouchet Debate
Appendix 3: Excerpts from Pouchet's correspondence
Appendix 4: The Works published by the supporters of vitalism and organicism


Index rerum

Index nominum

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