By John H. Zammito

Since the Fifties, many philosophers of technological know-how have attacked positivism—the idea that clinical wisdom is grounded in aim truth. Reconstructing the background of those reviews, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technology are quite often invoked, they really supply little help for trendy postmodern techniques to technological know-how studies.

Zammito exhibits how difficulties that Quine and Kuhn observed within the philosophy of the typical sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for solution. This linguistic flip resulted in claims that technological know-how should be located in either old and social contexts, however the claims of modern "science reports" purely deepened the philosophical problem. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism presents the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and medical perform, offering fairly a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technological know-how studies.

Filling a niche in scholarship up to now, A great Derangement of Epistemes will attract historians, philosophers, philosophers of technological know-how, and the wider clinical community.

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

Because the Fifties, many philosophers of technology have attacked positivism—the concept that clinical wisdom is grounded in goal fact. Reconstructing the heritage of those evaluations, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technology are quite often invoked, they really supply little help for trendy postmodern techniques to technological know-how reviews.

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

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There is, as Quine himself would affirm, the set of what we might call coherence constraints, for example, simplicity or conservatism, which would promote one theory over another, even given the same evidence base. 137 Second, there is the Bayesian probability model for which, given differing prior probabilities, the same evidence base will result in different posterior theoretical probability. 138 Finally, other evidence, not logically entailed by the thesis, can nevertheless bear upon its validity by confirming or disconfirming elements in the background of the theory or confirming or disconfirming a consequence that is entailed tangentially by the theory.

If it is upheld, much that Quine claims cannot be withstood. If it falls, his whole position becomes susceptible to considerable revision. Quine's strongest defenders believe they can rescue indeterminacy of translation from obscurity or from fallacy on that basis. In my view, his case fails just there. We have reached the crux. I question whether Quine's thought experin1ent of radical translation could really even get off the ground. " It is not clear that Quine's field linguist could, in fact, construct a translation manual in the situation in which Quine has placed her.

Davidson queries, what guards against one observer gesturing with the observation sentence "Gavagai" to what another perceives as a warthog? There is no security that the tern1S of one individual's ostension might not conflict with those of another, and thus collapse epistemic support toward solipsism. 244 All-out semantic holism obliterates the determinacy of reference. 246 At best, "the existence of an empirical (sensory) correlate-the thing in itselfbecomes a formal (necessary) condition for there being a language.

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