Science in Action How to Follow Scientists and Engineers

Science in Action How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society ❮Read❯ ➭ Science in Action How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society Author Bruno Latour – Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9780674792913Science and technology have immense authority and influence in our society yet their working remains little understood The conventional perception of scien Alternate cover edition of ISBN Science and Action How ePUB ✓ technology have immense authority and influence in our society yet their working remains little Science in PDF or understood The conventional perception of science in Western societies has been modified in recent years by the work of philosophers sociologists and in Action How Epub Ü historians of science In this book Bruno Latour brings together these different approaches to provide a lively and challenging analysis of science in Action How to Follow PDF or demonstrating how social context and technical content are both essential to a proper understanding of scientific activity Emphasizing that science can only be understood through its practice the author examines science and technology in action the role of scientific literature the activities of laboratories the institutional context of science in the modern world and the means by which inventions and discoveries become accepted From the study of scientific practice he develops an analysis of science as the building of networks Throughout Bruno Latour shows how a lively and realistic picture of science in action alters our conception of not only the natural sciences but also the social sciences and the sociology of knowledge in generalThis stimulating book drawing on a wealth of examples from a wide range of scientific activities will interest all philosophers sociologists and historians of science scientists and engineers and students of the philosophy of social science and the sociology of knowledge.

10 thoughts on “Science in Action How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society

  1. Joichi Ito Joichi Ito says:

    One of my favorite booksIt approaches the process of the progress of science and the development of facts from the human and social perspective Latour starts out the book by chronicling the discovery of DNA and the development of the Eclipse MV8000 computer He shows how facts are black boxes that become fact through a process of competition that involves building networks of references until people start to refer to your theory as a fact and use it to build their facts In fact black boxes can be re opened but it becomes increasing difficult and costly to do this I felt this very much when working at ECD We worked in the area of disordered materials Most devices arewere made of solid state crystalline materials It is very difficult to get people think about devices in other ways In this way ECD discovered huge bodies of amazing materials with amazing properties but convincing the world of the reality of this alternative universe took decades and the resistance was phenomenal It took Stan Ovshinsky an amazing leader with the combination of a scientific mind and the will of a political activist to convince the worldLatour writes about how many scientists believe that Nature can tell us if the facts are true He explores laboratories and their methods and shows us that Nature doesn't really tell us anything Nature proves something only after something becomes a fact Laboratories are design to prove or support facts and the design of the experiment and the interpretation of the data are ambiguous and always disputable It costs a great deal of money to open a black box and to create a laboratory to create or debunk scientific facts The scientific one gets the ambiguous the facts become and the higher the costs become Because of the time and the costs involved this uestioning of fact and creation of fact becomes an enterprise that reuire a great deal of funding and thus a great deal of political and non scientific activityHe makes an interesting point about scientific papers which I will uote There is something still worse however than being either criticized or dismantled by careless readers it is being ignored Since the status of a claim depends on later users' insertions what if there are no later users whatsoever? This is the point that people who never come close to the fabrication of science have the greatest difficulty in grasping They imagine that all scientific articles are eual and arrayed in lines like soldiers to be carefully inspected one by one However most papers are never read at all No matter what a paper did to the former literature if no one else does anything with it then it is as if it never existed at all You may have written a paper that settles a fierce controversy once and for all but if readers ignore it it cannot be turned into a fact; it simply cannot You may protest against this injustice; you may treasure the certitude of being right in your inner heart; but it will never go further than your inner heart; you will never go further in certitude without the help of others Fact construction is so much a collective process that an isolated person builds only dreams claims and feelings not facts As we will see later in Chapter 3 one of the main problems to solve is to interest someone enough to read at all; compared to this problem that of being believed is so to speak a minor task

  2. Melissa Melissa says:

    An intriguing concept that for some people is tantamount to sacrilege the social construction of science Latour's take on the sociology of science is a topic that is controversial to even teach in some universities due to the unpopular idea that science is no above social influence than anything else Latour challenges the Baconian method of teaching science asserting that nothing in science even the black boxes are as pure and clear cut as we are led to believe Latour uses many examples from history to illustrate his ideas including the development of the transistor and Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNAAs someone currently pursing a career in scientific research I am thankful my Sociology teacher introduced this book to me as an undergraduate and would recommend it to anyone who is interested or working in research

  3. Gergely Gergely says:

    A seminal work on the way in which scientists construct facts Latour develops an account of a complex process that entangles the personal and political investments of the scientist interactions among other often competing scientists the influence of funding agencies and other institutions the intellectual convictions of the scientist and the technical dance between the scientist and the apparatus from which scientific findings must emergeThis last interaction is the focus of Latour's theory He offers a compelling argument that we should not understand laboratory or other technical apparatus as a completely neutral inanimate machine which produces results that reflect uneuivocally the secrets of Nature nor should we understand scientific apparatus as an implement over which the scientist has complete control to extract whatever result is desiredInstead Latour describes a continuous and conflicted process in which the scientist must design and implement an apparatus understood broadly to perform a certain study and produce a certain set of data In doing so there is necessarily an expectation of what one is looking for and how one will know if one has obtained the correct result Yet the scientist must also be able to claim that results are objective reflections of Nature that the experiments are unbiased and carefully controlled and that it was impossible to obtain any other result Rarely will the apparatus produce the expected result immediately and so a cycle begins in which the scientist alternately tunes the apparatus imposing some expectation of the successful result and interprets the newest result of the apparatus divining what aspects of the result are True and what are artifacts of interference errors or poor designHaving become deeply skeptical of the way in which scientific knowledge is produced and used politically culturally and ethically I found this book immensely helpful in giving me a vocabulary with which to articulate this type of critiue On the other hand this is some fairly esoteric geeky material and it's probably not for everyone

  4. Theresa Sl Theresa Sl says:

    First off this book is written very well in a creative sense a skill that is often lacking in academic texts Latour writes with wit and poses interesting anecdotes keeping the reader very engaged while retaining a rigid structure guided by the methods and principles of Science in Action Latour shows that truth and Nature are not absolute as they need a representant in our social world This representation is science and fact for which Latour through the multiple social processes that construct our society It relativates the absoluteness of science Each chapter adds an extra viewpoint for this from academic texts to laboratoria to the management of scientific institutes and even the fabric of society itself I found each chapter added new information as behind the main idea of science as social activity there are multiple different processes and principles at workScience in Action is allegedly culpable to the same relativity of representation as science is in relation to nature Science in Action is as such a mere representation of science and not a true description of science I believe however that self reflection on science is a necessary precondition for any possibility of progress in science Together with other ideas from the Philosophy of Science the Social Scientific approach of science proves to be extremely valuable as a reflective methodology for any science

  5. Michael Burnam-Fink Michael Burnam-Fink says:

    Science in Action is one of the most influential books in STS and for good reason Actor Network Theory as laid out here is a powerful description of how scientists make claims about reality using technical rhetoric to shift claims between 'true' facts and 'falsified' artefacts Latour moves smoothly from the level of the scientific paper to researchers labs disciplines and the immense network of technoscience that girdles and organizes the world Rarely is a theory so useful at every scaleFor high theory this is a relatively accessible book relative being a relative term I'd recommend it to everybody if I thought they had the stomach for it and if I thought they wouldn't use post modern theory for evil

  6. Julio César Julio César says:

    Latour's book is a full research program in its own style His chain of thoughts is so well developed that you don't feel lost at any point of an absolutely magnificent journey It can be a little dense though specially for people who are not familiarised with the hard sciences vocabulary A modern classic which every reader interested in science and the manufacture of knowledge should read

  7. Dave Peticolas Dave Peticolas says:

    A comprehensive analysis of science and technology as they are practiced and a guide for further research Latour's thesis well defended is that science consists of evolving networks of marshalled resources including not only publications and laboratory research but also whole societies cultures and bureaucracies

  8. Nick Mather Nick Mather says:

    In many ways the successor to Thomas Kuhn's work Latour demonstrates how science actually works and how scientific facts are largely a community contruction challenging the notion of a detached value free science

  9. Jean Jean says:

    In my brief foray into the culture of science this was the least obtuse book on this subject and i enjoyed it too

  10. Morgan Morgan says:

    Really excellent illustrations seriously and an engaging use of examplesstories to outline Latour's methods for studying science before it is blackboxed

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