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I agree with what the author is stating here. But 
it avoids the real argument, which is not that 
scientific projects involve social networks of 
people to make real, but of whether the 
underpinnings of science are objective, 
ubiquitous and absolute, and stand apart from the 
ideological (subjective) frameworks of political movements.

It is worth pondering Marx's thoughts on ideology as a material force.

Mitchel



At 01:21 PM 9/24/2012, Sam Anderson wrote:


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>Social construction of science
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><<Sociology of science simply wants to take a 
>moment to notice science as something that is made by groups of people>>
>This entry was posted on September 24, 2012, in 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/category/science/>science, 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/category/sociology/>sociology 
>and tagged 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/tag/philosophy-of-science/>philosophy 
>of science, 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/tag/science/>science, 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/tag/social-constructivism/>social 
>constructivism, 
><http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/tag/sociology-of-science/>sociology 
>of <http://alicerosebell.wordpress.com/tag/sociology-of-science/>science.
>
>  ”The Knowledge Construction Union”, the 
> IoE take to the streets, en mass.
>
>Saying science is a social construction does not 
>amount to saying science is make believe. It 
>puzzles me that this even needs saying, and yet 
>it does, again and again and again.
>
>Just because something is socially constructed 
>doesn’t mean it isn’t also real.
>
>St Paul’s Cathedral was made by more people 
>than Sir Christopher Wren, he relied upon on a 
>social network. And yet there it still stands, 
>all its socially constructed reality. I saw it 
>from the Southbank when I walked down there last 
>week. I’ve sat on its steps, been inside it, 
>climbed it, taken photos there, got drunk 
>outside, argued about it, been dazzled by it. 
>The thing is real. I do not doubt that. I admit 
>I only perceive it limited by my human 
>capacities. I’m quite short sighted, I get 
>distracted by other things and my view of the 
>place is coloured by what other people have said 
>to me about it. But even in my more annoying 
>“hey, what do we ever really know, really, 
>really” philosophical moments, I’m pretty sure it exists.
>
>Indeed, we could argue St Paul’s is only real 
> as opposeed to a figment of Chris Wren’s 
>imagination  beacause it wass socially 
>constructed. In order to get it built, he relied 
>upon the labour, ideas, expertise, money, 
>political will and other resources of whole 
>networks of other people. If hadn’t been for 
>this network, I doubt it would have been constructed at all.
>
>We could say the same for any number of 
>scientific buildings or institutions too. 
>CERN’s a good example. It employs nearly 4,000 
>staff, hosting a further 10,000 visiting 
>scientists and engineers, representing 113 
>nationalities drawn from more than 600 
>universities and research facilities. That’s 
>without getting into the large, long and complex 
>networks of broader financial, physical and 
>intellectual resources they rely up to do their 
>work.  Arguably, it’s because we socially 
>construct science that CERN can exist.
>
>We can also apply this point to scientific 
>ideas, the construction of which is also social, 
>as individuals rely on others to check, adapt, 
>support and inspire them. It’s also worth 
>adding that just because people came up with an 
>idea doesn’t mean it doesn’t match reality, 
>it just means people worked together to find the 
>best idea about the world they can. Science 
>isn’t nature, even if in places it might seem 
>to so have closely described the world that we 
>use it as a shorthand. To say science is made by 
>humans isn’t to say the world around them is. 
>(although there is a “social construction of 
>reality” strand to sociology of science, this 
>is only a strand, and it’s a nuanced 
>philosophical debate which, if you want to 
>engage with, it’s worth taking time over).
>
>None of this is to say individuals don’t play 
>a role, just that they rely on others. The fact 
>that we can, at least on occasion, collect 
>together to make stuff like the discovery of the 
>Higgs boson is one of the things that makes me happy about humanity.
>
>Sociology of science simply wants to take a 
>moment to notice science as something that is 
>made by groups of people. I really don’t get 
>why people find it as somehow desiring of 
>undermining science. You could equally see it as 
>a celebration. If anything, the scientific 
>community should embrace such detailed study of 
>the intricacies of their make up, it helps make 
>cases for more rigorous thinking about funding and immigration policies.
>
>Some of these points are echoed in a 
><http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/22/ig-nobels-celebrate-small-beautiful-science>short 
>piece I wrote for the Guardianat the weekend. If 
>you want to read more, I suggest you try 
><http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/K/bo3684600.html>some 
>of the original Strong Programme, as well as 
><http://www.bruno-latour.fr/node/130>Latour on 
>networks and 
><http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_K._Merton#Sociology_of_science>Merton 
>on communalism. Or recent books by 
><http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1405187654.html>Sergio 
>Sismondo and 
><http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415322003/>Massimiano 
>Bucchi offer slightly more digestible 
>introductions. I can also recommend Spencer 
>Weart’s 
><http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm>Discovery 
>of Global Warming as a good case study in the 
>social structure of science, it’s a slightly 
>more engrossing read than abstract theory, or 
>there was 
><http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100324/full/464482a.html>a 
>nice piece about sociologists at CERN in Nature a while back.
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>Sent from Sam + Rosemari's iPad





http://www.MitchelCohen.com


Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen