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Science and Its Fabrication

1990
Author:

Alan Chalmers

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Advances a defense of the objectivity of scientific knowledge.

Advances a defense of the objectivity of scientific knowledge.

“[Science and its Fabrication] is clearly written by an author who is well versed in the pertinent literature.” Choice

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Sociology

In what way can scientific knowledge be defended and argued to be distinct from and superior to witchcraft or voodoo? In his earlier What Is This Thing Called Science? Alan Chalmers offered a comprehensive critique of the standard accounts of science and its methods. Science and Its Fabrication, building on the foundation of an earlier study, presents an alternative understanding of science. Aided by clearly posed historical examples, Chalmers demonstrates how a qualified defense of science that occupies the middle ground between ideological glorifications and radical denials or rejections of it is possible.

Chalmers’s basic polemic is directed against those theorists of a new sociology of science and neo-Marxist critics of science, for whom scientific knowledge is both subjective and ideological. His defense of the objectivity of scientific knowledge, while acknowledging its theory-ladeness, advances an appreciation of science for what it is worth as well as a clarification of its limitations.

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Alan Chalmers is associate professor of history and philosophy at the University of Sydney. He is the author of What Is This Thing Called Science?

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“[Science and its Fabrication] is clearly written by an author who is well versed in the pertinent literature.” Choice

Chalmers intimates that important sources of recent efforts to discredit science and scientific objectivity are to be found in naive or self-aggrandizing scientists and admiring philosophers and historians, who, for so long, promoted a belief in science as an entirely disinterested pursuit of truth based on neutral observation and grounded on rock-solid foundations and sought unlimited public support and respect for its findings. By criticizing these "standard" views, as well as the excesses of some of their critics, Alan Chalmer's book serves as helpful corrective to this view and to the relativistic and nihilistic reactions it has engendered.

American Scientist