Social History of Truth by Steven Shapin
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Social History of Truth
By Steven Shapin

A Social History of Truth

Civility and Science in Seventeenth-century England 2nd

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Format: Paperback

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Social History of Truth by Steven Shapin

Book Awards

  • Winner of American Sociological Association Science, Knowledge & Technology Section Robert K. Merton Award 1998.

Book Description

How do we come to trust our knowledge of the world? What are the means by which we distinguish true from false accounts? Why do we credit one observational statement over another? This study engages these universal questions through a recreation of a crucial period in the history of early modern science: the social world of gentlemen-philosophers in 17th-century England. The author paints a picture of the relations between gentlemanly culture and scientific practice. He argues that problems of credibility in science were practically solved through the codes and conventions of genteel conduct: trust, civility, honour, and integrity. These codes formed, and arguably still form, an important basis for securing reliable knowledge about the natural world. Shapin uses detailed historical narrative to argue about the establishment of factual knowledge both in science and in everyday practice. Accounts of the mores and manners of gentlemen-philosophers are used to illustrate Shapin's broad claim that trust is imperative for constituting every kind of knowledge. Knowledge-making is always a collective enterprise: people have to know whom to trust in order to know something about the natural world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780226750194
ISBN-10: 0226750191
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 153mm x 28mm)
Pages: 516
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 9-Nov-1995
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Steven Shapin

Leviathan and the Air-Pump by Steven Shapin Leviathan and the Air-Pump, Paperback (August 2011)

Examines the conflicts over the value and propriety of experimental methods between two major seventeenth-century thinkers: Thomas Hobbes, author of the political treatise "Leviathan" and vehement critic of systematic experimentation in natural philosophy, and Robert Boyle, mechanical philosopher and owner of the newly invented air-pump.

Scientific Life by Steven Shapin Scientific Life, Paperback (September 2010)

Who are scientists? What kind of people are they? What capacities and virtues are thought to stand behind their considerable authority? This book tells the author's story about who scientists are, who we think they are, and why our sensibilities about such things matter.

Politics of Pure Science by Steven Shapin Politics of Pure Science, Paperback (September 1999)

This work examines the place of science in American politics and society. Dispelling the myth of scientific purity and detachment, Daniel S. Greenberg documents the political processes that underpinned government funding of science from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Science Incarnate by Steven Shapin Science Incarnate, Paperback (March 1998)

We have specific images of the kinds of bodies that house great minds. Focusing on the 17th century to the present, this book examines how intellectuals have sought to establish the value and authority of their ideas through public displays of their private life.

» View all books by Steven Shapin


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