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Flashcards in Ideology And Science Deck (43)
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Who believes that science is governed by the principle of falsificationism?

Karl Popper


What is falsificationism?

Where scientists set out to try and falsify existing theories, deliberately seeking evidence that would disprove them


In Poppers view, what enables scientific understanding of the world to grow?

Discarding falsified knowledge claims


According to Popper, what is scientific knowledge?

It is cumulative - it builds on the achievements of previous scientists to develop a greater and greater understanding of the world around us


According to functionalist Robert Merton, what must science receive support from if it is to thrive as a major social institution?

Other institutions and values


According to Merton, what created the values and attitudes that allowed science to thrive?

The Protestant Reformation, especially Puritanism (a form of Calvinism)


According to Karl Popper, what sort of belief system is science?

An open belief system where every scientists theories are open to scrutiny, criticism and testing by others


How did the Puritans enable science to thrive?

Their industriousness, and their belief that the study of nature led to an appreciation of Gods works, encouraged them to experiment


According to Merton, what does science as an institution require and why?

An 'ethos' or set of norms that make scientists act in ways that serve the goal of increasing scientific knowledge


What are the 4 norms that Merton identifies?

CUDOS - Communism (scientific knowledge is not private property and must therefore be shared), Universalism (the truth or falsity of scientific knowledge is judged by universal, objective criteria), Disinterestedness (being committed to discovering knowledge for its own sake) and Organised scepticism (no knowledge claim is regarded as 'sacred')


What are closed belief systems?

They make knowledge claims that cannot be successfully overturned


How does science differ from traditional religious belief systems?

While scientific knowledge is provisional, open to challenge and potentially disprovable, religion claims to have special, perfect knowledge of the absolute truth


Who does not believe in coincidence or chance and explains all misfortune in terms of witchcraft?

The Azande


What does Evans-Pritchard note about belief systems such as the Azande?

He notes that they are highly resistant to challenges


Polanyi argues that belief systems have three devices to sustain themselves in the face of apparently contradictory evidence. What are these devices?

Circularity, Subsidiary evidence and Denial of legitimacy to rivals


What does Kuhn argue about mature sciences such as geology, biology or physics?

That they are based on a set of shared assumptions that he calls paradigms


What do paradigms tell scientists?

A paradigm tells scientists what reality is like, what problems to study and what methods and equipment to use, what will count as evidence, and even what answers they should find when they conduct research


According to Kuhn, what sort of science are scientists engaged in?

Normal science


What does Kuhn liken normal science to?

Puzzle solving - the paradigm lays down the broad outlines and the scientists' job is to carefully fill in the details


According to Kuhn, what happens to scientists who challenge the fundamental assumptions of the paradigm?

They are ridiculed and hounded out of the profession


According to Kuhn, when does a scientific revolution occur?

When faith in the truth of the paradigm is undermined by an accumulation of anomalies - results that the paradigm cannot account for


What do interpretivists argue about scientific knowledge?

They argue that it is socially constructed


What does Karin Knorr-Cetina argue about the invention of new instruments, such as telescopes or microscopes?

She argues that they permit scientists to make new observations and construct or 'fabricate' new facts


What does Knorr-Cetina argue about what scientists study in a laboratory?

She argues that what scientists study in the laboratory is highly 'constructed' and far removed from the natural world that they are supposedly studying


What do ethnomethodologists such as Steve Woolgar argue about scientific facts?

He argues that a scientific fact is simply a social construction or belief that scientists are able to persuade their colleagues to share - it is not necessarily a real thing 'out there'


How do critical perspectives such as Marxism and Feminism see scientific knowledge?

They regard it as serving the interests of dominant groups e.g the ruling class and men


How do postmodernists such as Lyotard view science?

They argue that science is one of a number of meta-narratives or 'big-stories' that falsely claim to possess the truth


What do some postmodernists argue that science has become?

Techno science - simply serving capitalist interests by producing commodities for profit


What is ideology?

A worldview or a set of ideas and values that form a belief system


In order for a revolution to occur, what must the working class first become aware of?

Their true position as exploited 'wage slaves' by developing a class consciousness