Scope of Scientonomy - Individual and Social
Ought a scientonomic theory account for changes in the mosaics of individual scientists, the mosaics of communities, or both?
On the one hand, there are the changes in the belief systems of an individual scientist. On the other hand, there are the changes in the mosaic of a community of scientists. The beliefs of individual scientists, can follow a different trajectory than beliefs of a community of scientists. This raises the question: which of these two processes should a scientonomic theory trace and account for? Should a scientonomic theory concern itself only with individual scientists, only with communities, or both?
In the scientonomic context, this question was first formulated by Hakob Barseghyan in 2015. The question is currently accepted as a legitimate topic for discussion by Scientonomy community.
In Scientonomy, the accepted answer to the question is:
- It is implicit in the definition of scientonomy that it should explain changes in the scientific mosaic of accepted theories and employed methods, which are changes at the level of the scientific community. It need not account for changes at the level of the beliefs of individuals.
In the first half of the 20th Century, philosophers of science were mainly concerned with individual scientists. Logical positivists and logical empiricists focused on the logic behind the scientific change which mainly involved probability. By contrast, Karl Popper was concerned with falsification and constant testing of the scientific theories.1 Falsification requires other members of the scientific community to test the theories. As a result, Popper was one of the first philosophers of science to give a place to the role of the community.2
In the 60’s, Thomas Kuhn brought the importance of the scientific community to the forefront. He argued that scientific change took place at the communal level from one paradigm to another.3 One of the feature of Kuhn’s view was to examine actual historical episodes rather than a priori theorizing.3 This included studying actual scientific communities and how the community actually changed their beliefs. He talked about the role of social influence such as the conversion of scientists from one paradigm to another in revolutionary science periods. 3
Sociologists of scientific knowledge took the idea of studying the social influences in scientific change and applied it to many scientific episodes in 70s and 80’s. They argued that scientific communities are communities like any other and the changes in their beliefs can be examined sociologically. However, their members occasionally used individual scientists as their case studies. For example, John Farley and Gerald Geison examined the beliefs and practices of Pasteur, who is an individual scientist, in their case study.4
Social epistemologists have also argued that traditional philosophy of science did not take the social dimensions of knowledge seriously. For example, Helen Longino has given central importance to the role of transformative criticism in the scientific progress.5 Consequently, unlike Popper who gave a practical importance to the concept of community, Longino believes that interaction with the community is a prerequisite for scientific progress.5
|Community||Accepted From||Acceptance Indicators||Still Accepted||Accepted Until||Rejection Indicators|
|Scientonomy||1 January 2016||That is when the community accepted its first answer to this question, the Scope of Scientonomy - Social (Barseghyan-2015), which indicates that the question is itself considered legitimate. pp. 43-51||Yes|
|Scope of Scientonomy - Social (Barseghyan-2015)||It is implicit in the definition of scientonomy that it should explain changes in the scientific mosaic of accepted theories and employed methods, which are changes at the level of the scientific community. It need not account for changes at the level of the beliefs of individuals.||2015|
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|Community||Theory||Accepted From||Accepted Until|
|Scientonomy||Scope of Scientonomy - Social (Barseghyan-2015)||1 January 2016|
In Scientonomy, the accepted answer to the question is Scope of Scientonomy - Social (Barseghyan-2015).
Scope of Scientonomy - Social (Barseghyan-2015) states: "It is implicit in the definition of scientonomy that it should explain changes in the scientific mosaic of accepted theories and employed methods, which are changes at the level of the scientific community. It need not account for changes at the level of the beliefs of individuals."
Scientonomy focuses on the scientific mosaic of accepted theories and employed methods. In their daily work, individual scientists rely on and formulate theories about the object of their research, and use methods to appraise their theories. Both the theories they believe and the criteria they use to assess them may change over time. Although historians of science have often focused on individual scientists, often those deemed great, like Galileo or Einstein, and the changes in their beliefs as they constructed and assessed theories, changes to the scientific mosaic itself happen at the level of the community. Scientonomy thus seeks to focus efforts on the social level of the scientific community rather than on the individual.
This question is a subquestion of Scope of Scientonomy.
This topic is also related to the following topic(s):
- ^ Popper, Karl. (2002) The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Routledge.
- ^ Longino, Helen. (2015) The Social Dimensions of Scientific Knowledge. In Zalta (Ed.) (2016). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/scientific-knowledge-social/.
- a b c Kuhn, Thomas. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
- ^ Geison, Gerald and Farley, John. (1974) Science, politics and spontaneous generation in nineteenth-century France: the Pasteur-Pouchet debate. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 48 (2), 161-98. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/4617616/.
- a b Longino, Helen. (1990) Science as Social Knowledge: Values and Objectivity in Scientific Inquiry. Princeton University Press.