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By John H. Zammito

Since the Nineteen Fifties, many philosophers of technological know-how have attacked positivism—the idea that clinical wisdom is grounded in target fact. Reconstructing the heritage of those opinions, John H. Zammito argues that whereas so-called postpositivist theories of technology are quite often invoked, they really offer 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 ordinary sciences encouraged a flip to the philosophy of language for answer. This linguistic flip ended in claims that technological know-how should be located in either historic and social contexts, however the claims of contemporary "science reports" in basic terms deepened the philosophical predicament. In essence, Zammito argues that not one of the issues of positivism presents the slightest justification for denigrating empirical inquiry and clinical perform, offering particularly a blow to the "discipline" postmodern technological know-how studies.

Filling a niche in scholarship thus far, A great Derangement of Epistemes will entice historians, philosophers, philosophers of technological know-how, and the wider clinical community.

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

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Quine recognizes the danger; he strongly resists being lumped with the radical appropriation of linguistic holism for incomn1ensurability or all-out relativism, as he understands the position of Norwood Russell Hanson, Thomas I(uhn, and Paul Feyerabend. It appears that Quine's last stronghold is his theory of observation sentences. The recent essay "In Praise of Observation Sentences" represents one of Quine's most explicit attempts to distance himself from Hanson, Feyerabend, and Kuhn. He holds that they "overreacted" against traditional epistemology with their formulation of the "theory-laden" nature of all observation.

161 Quine relativizes our "innate flair" for categorizing by natural kinds, since this is a capacity that we share with animals. " 162 That is, "natural kind" categorization is irretrievably crude. It interests Quine that this natural disposition to form categories of natural kinds-in other words, to develop expectations of the recurrence of similar patterns-works. "[W]hy does our innate subjective spacing of qualities accord so well with the functionally relevant groupings in nature as to make our inductions tend to come out right?

Observation categoricals are implicit still in the predicting of archaeological finds and the deciphering of inscriptions, but the glories of history would be lost if we stopped and stayed at the checkpoints. "267 Quine clearly entertains the old positivist hierarchy of the sciences. It is Rorty who will wash away all discrimination between the Geisteswissenschaften and the Naturwissenschaften, though in a manner diametrically opposed to Quine-by dissolving the claim of the natural sciences to any "fact of the n1atter" of their own.

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