Re: [asa] HPSS - Survey of Views

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Thu Apr 03 2008 - 19:42:33 EDT

Thanks David. I restricted the survey to those four for a simple reason: Roy Bhaskar is still alive and his impact and ideas will be dealt with more in years to come. Additionally, Bhaskar studied politics, economics and philosophy - a quite different pathway than the four below, the last of whom died in 1996.
  Popper (1902), Kuhn (1922), Lakatos (1922) and Feyerabend (1924) are accepted as key figures in HPSS, each of which differs from the other and offers penetrating insights into 'the nature (or character) of science' as it is practised and theorised today. Feyerabend, for example, was set to study under Wittgenstein at Cambridge. But when the latter died, he opted for Popper at LSE. These were men who had actual experience in 'the' sciences (psychology, physics, mathematics, physics), they were not 'just armchair philosophers,' as they might today be portrayed by some.
  There are direct links between these four, especially obvious in the dialogue between Lakatos and Feyerabend, "For and Against Method." Nancy Murphy studied under Feyerabend. Only Kuhn was born in the U.S.A. I agree with you fully, David, about the social context being an interesting question. - G.A.

David Opderbeck <> wrote:
    I've read at least some of all four. I'd add another key name to the list -- Roy Bhaskar.
  I think it's critically important to understand scientific practice in its social and cultural context, which is what I take as the project of each of these folks, whatever the ultimate merits are of their conclusions. Whether practicing scientists specifically think "I'm doing Popper here" or not seems beside the point to me -- in fact, the extent to which practicing scientists don't realize or acknowledge the social context of their day to day work is itself an interesting question.

  On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 12:19 AM, Gregory Arago <> wrote:
    A thought came to me while reading Paul Feyerabend's short text "How to Defend Society Against Science" (1975), in which he opens by acknowledging an interest in 'the relations between science and religion.' Or at least, writing an article about it was something that helped to pay his bills.
  This is my question: How interested are people at ASA in four key figures in (studies of) the history, philosophy and sociology of science - Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos and Feyerabend? Is there any way to take a survey or get a general indication of who's read these persons, to what degree and if it has made any impact on ASA discussions of 'science and religion'?
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology 
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Received on Thu Apr 3 19:43:45 2008

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