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To Bridge the Gap between the Two Cultures: a Social Pre-History of the Strong Program in the Sociology of Knowledge

Citace:
BENDA, L. To Bridge the Gap between the Two Cultures: a Social Pre-History of the Strong Program in the Sociology of Knowledge. In Scientific Cosmopolitanism and Local Cultures: Religions, Ideologies, Societies, Proceedings of 5th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science. Athens: 2014. s. 698-704. ISBN: 978-960-98199-3-0
Druh: STAŤ VE SBORNÍKU
Jazyk publikace: eng
Anglický název: To Bridge the Gap between the Two Cultures: a Social Pre-History of the Strong Program in the Sociology of Knowledge
Rok vydání: 2014
Místo konání: Athens
Autoři: Mgr. Libor Benda ,
Abstrakt EN: The aim of the paper is to explore the social, cultural and political conditions that contributed to the development of the strong program in the sociology of knowledge, the first research program in the tradition of the sociology of scientific knowledge. While the emergence of the strong program in the 1970s is commonly interpreted only internally as the result of a certain synthesis of philosophical and sociological studies of science, influenced especially by T. S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, extra-theoretical factors that played a role in the formation of this approach are largely ignored and excluded from the overall picture. In the paper I focus my attention on these external causes of the development of the strong program, and mainly on the role of the group of the British scientists, who in the late 1930s began to point out the need to bridge the gap between what C. P. Snow later defined in his famous 1959 Rede lecture as the "two cultures". Special attention in this regard will be paid to the biologist C. H. Waddington, who in 1966 founded the Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh, where the strong program has been subsequently developed by scientifically trained D. Bloor and B. Barnes, and to the radio astronomer D. O. Edge, the first director of the Unit. On the basis of the provided analysis, I argue for the claim that to fully understand the strong program, it is necessary to view it not just as an independent research program, but as a result of a broader scientific endeavor to resolve the two cultures problem. Since the strong program is still often condemned as a postmodern attack on the authority of science, I also draw attention to its scientific roots to argue that, far from being an attack against science, it represents a most ambitious attempt of scientists themselves to scientifically analyze the relationship between scientific and other forms of knowledge, and between science and society.
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