A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the by John H. Zammito

By John H. Zammito

Since the Fifties, many philosophers of technology have attacked positivism—the concept that medical wisdom is grounded in target truth. Reconstructing the heritage of those reviews, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technology are quite often invoked, they really offer little aid for trendy postmodern methods to technological know-how studies.

Zammito indicates how difficulties that Quine and Kuhn observed within the philosophy of the normal sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for answer. This linguistic flip ended in claims that technological know-how has to be located in either ancient and social contexts, however the claims of contemporary "science stories" purely deepened the philosophical challenge. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism presents the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and medical perform, offering really a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technological know-how studies.

Filling a niche in scholarship thus far, A great Derangement of Epistemes will attract historians, philosophers, philosophers of technological know-how, and the wider medical community.

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Extra resources for A Nice Derangement of Epistemes: Post-positivism in the Study of Science from Quine to Latour

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The primordial form of all Quine's indeterminacies is this inscrutability of reference, the claim that language "fits loosely" on the world, and hence the manner in which any given term or statement links up with the world is indeterminate. " -and a term. Observation sentences may be as veridical as language gets, but their terms remain ultin1ately inscrutable. " as an observation sentence in the presence of the same stimulation (which is all the evidential support Quine thinks one can get). But as a term, gavagai can be translated as rabbit, or, incorrigibly, as "undetached rabbit part" or "temporal slice of rabbithood," and so on.

Still, Quine wishes to adhere to the evidential warrant that can be supplied by dispositions to assent or dissent to observation sentences. " Observation sentences taken holophrastically are the only checkpoints we can access. Quine summarizes this: "Grant that a knowledge of the appropriate stimulatory conditions of a sentence does not settle how to construe the sentence in terms of existence of objects. "271 Theory has access to facts in such sentences, and that is all there is to say about evidence.

This, she noted, could not really distinguish, as Quine demanded, the indetern1inacy of translation from underdetermination of other empirical theories. She identified the second, essential argument, accordingly, with high-level reHections on theory of language-in effect, Quine's a priori views on the ontology of language. As it turns out, the argument from above does not work. As Quine elaborated it in "Epistemology Naturalized," it has two components, the Duhem thesis (holism) and the Peircean idea of verificationism.

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