The Social Construction of Knowledge

“As we come to recognize the conventional and artifactual status of our forms of knowing, we put ourselves in a position to realize that it is ourselves and not reality that is responsible for what we know.”[1]

Ernst Haeckel's Tree of Life as a model of evolutionary descent. The Tree of Life is a common motif in religion, philosophy, and mythology, here appropriated to science, demonstrating how the presentation and interpretation of 'fact' is influenced by social factors [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Ernst Haeckel’s Tree of Life as a model of evolutionary descent. The Tree of Life is a common motif in religion, philosophy, and mythology, here appropriated to science, demonstrating how the presentation and interpretation of ‘fact’ is influenced by social factors [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

In the last blog post I discussed discourse analysis and mentioned that the idea of discourse includes the notion that knowledge is a social construct. But what does this mean and how does this occur?

From a sociological perspective, ‘knowledge’ does not represent reality so much as organize reality according to the wants and needs of society and its members. The common reality shared by the members of a society is ‘knowledge.’[2] Knowledge is socially constructed, from this perspective, since the world of ideation (systems of knowledge, ideas, concepts, ideologies, mentalities, belief, etc.) originates in social groups (e.g., community, class, culture, nation, generation, etc.) and institutions.[3]

Science does not escape this assessment,[4] nor logic, mathematics,[5] or technology.[6] Prior to the emergence of the sociology of knowledge, of science, and of scientific knowledge, science was often perceived as immune to social influence[7]—in some sense ‘outside of society.’[8] But this is not so, as the discussion will show.

From the perspective of Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, what we ‘know’ is based on our perception of ‘reality’ and that perception is based on what we ‘know.’ “The product acts back upon the producer.”[9] How does this dialectic occur? Berger and Luckmann argue, “Society is a human product. Society is an objective reality. Man is a social product.”[10] The first statement, “society is a human product,” means that human beings engage in activities, producing objects—let’s say a house—in a process known as ‘externalization,’ since they are externalizing their inner expressions into outer behaviors and objects. Now the house, once built, stands on it own so to speak, existing independently of the people who built it. It becomes an objective reality and thus is known as ‘objectification.’ This house becomes a ‘frame for human activity.’[11]

A house is more than an assembly of its parts—it's how it's used and what it means to us that makes a home a home [credit: RajeshUnuppally at Malayalam Wikipedia; Wikimedia Commons]

A house is more than an assembly of its parts—it’s how it’s used and what it means to us that makes a house a home [credit: RajeshUnuppally at Malayalam Wikipedia; Wikimedia Commons]

The architecture and functions of the house, for example, direct how the household interacts with it. The house becomes a center of the family unit, a social gathering place, and is attributed loving and memorable connotations, for example. All of these things affect the people living in it, whereby the meaning of the house becomes a subjective reality for its members, and thus is known as ‘internalization.’ This in turn affects the inhabitants’ expressions and actions, for example passing on the ‘family house’ to the next generation or turning the house of a historical figure into a museum, and thus the process goes full circle. It is an ongoing, reciprocal process whereby society is a human product and human beings are a product of society.

What does this have to do with knowledge? To give a quick overview, what we ‘know’ is formulated via human expressions and activities. Activities become habitualized and habitualizations crystalize in institutions. Institutions direct and control activities by legitimizing certain habitualizations over and against others by way of explanation and justification,[12] thus involving both knowledge and values. Legitimization often results in the creation of a symbolic universe, “bodies of theoretical tradition that integrate different provinces of meaning and encompass the institutional order in a symbolic totality,”[13] like the role of scientific naturalism in science. ‘Knowledge,’ then is formulated according to a particular worldview. I will break this process down.

Habitualization

Habitualization is the repetition of human activity resulting in a pattern that is then reproduced. If one examines ‘science’ from this perspective, focus would be on the ‘negotiation’ of scientific knowledge through expressions and activities—for example, peer review, falsification, repetition of results, writing practices, laboratory standards, etc.—through which a scientific ‘object’ can be said to identified.[14] The pattern of these activities is then apprehended as ‘science.’

These practices are not purely objective and all can be understood as social phenomena. ‘Truth’ and ‘objectivity’ are “managed” and “creatively enacted,”[15] as well as ‘evidence’ and ‘experiment.’[16] There is a certain degree of ‘interpretive flexibility’ in determining the ‘results’ of experiments, as “the closure which stabilizes ‘knowledge’ is brought about by a range of social factors rather than something in the data.”[17] ‘Hard facts’ do not escape this assessment, which are regarded as “thoroughly understandable in terms of their social construction.”[18] Others take this claim even further, arguing there is only interpretation.[19] Replication of results is also problematized, as this depends on what are regarded as significant variables in the experiment.[20] The laboratory itself has also been analyzed as a social construct—formulated as a theoretical notion rather than simply a physical place where science is done.[21]

Lavoisier Lab 1775; This lab presents quite a different picture of what the scientific environment is all about [credit: © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar / CC-BY-SA-3.0; Wikimedia Commons]

Lavoisier Lab 1775; This lab presents quite a different picture of what the scientific environment is all about when compared with the following picture [credit: © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar / CC-BY-SA-3.0; Wikimedia Commons]

Contemporary science lab; Juxtaposing the old with the new in these two photos, we see that laboratory standards are influenced by the theory of what a lab is, changing from time and place  [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Contemporary science lab; Juxtaposing the old with the new in these two photos, we see that laboratory standards are influenced by the idea of what a lab is, changing from time and place [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Thus, scientific activities are better understood as constructive, rather than descriptive.[22] Science is a process open to sociological analysis “to no lesser degree than those in other areas of social life.”[23] This claim includes the notion that our ideas about nature do not actually reflect what’s ‘out there.’[24] In its strongest form, the sociology of knowledge claims that “the world as described by science ought to be seen as a consequence rather than a cause of scientific representations.”[25]

Institutionalization

Habitualization is the origin of institutionalization. In other words, institutions are habitualizations applied to actions involving social relationships.[26] In an institutional setting, actors have particular roles—“a typification of actions based on one’s position.”[27] Different roles involve differential access to and distribution of the social stock of knowledge. In the case of the science-to-society relationship, there is the special status attributed to the role of scientists in society as the most reliable sources of knowledge, entailing particular privileges and recognitions. The institution of science arduously keeps the outsiders out while at the same time maintaining the outsiders acknowledgement and acceptance of the legitimacy of this segregationist practice.

Science also faces the issue of keeping the insiders in, involving techniques such as discrediting (sometimes eminent) scientists—which can be purely based on social factors—[28] or simply the intimidation stemming from this possibility should one attempt to go against the grain.[29] “Quackery” is controlled through “a whole body of professional knowledge that offers them ‘scientific proof’ of the folly and even wickedness of such deviance.”[30]

There is further institutionalization within the sciences alone. There is the institutionalization of charisma, for example, in that personal influence becomes routinized or habitualized, eventually taking the form of schools of thought and research institutions.[31] We can also point to the obvious social factors involved in the institutionalization of science, such as funding opportunities determined by business interests for example, and political influences, such as policy decisions that can open up or effectively close down research projects like stem cell research. As an institution becomes crystallized, it is experienced as “an external and coercive fact,”[32] rather than simply habitualized actions on the part of a group of people—just as the house in the earlier example becomes objectivated. Institutions have a reality onto themselves, separate from the individuals who make them up at any given time.

Thus we see above how knowledge is ‘directed’ by institutions and this, moreover, involves a level of social control, through defining in the first place whether a form of knowledge is regarded as a legitimate domain of inquiry or not.

“Institutions […] by the very fact of their existence, control human conduct by setting up predefined patterns of conduct, which channel it in one direction against the many other directions that would theoretically be possible […] this controlling character is inherent in institutionalization as such.”[33]

Upholding the direction of knowledge means institutions face the “problem of compliance,” over and against individual attempts at reappropriation.[34] Actions against reappropriation can include assertion of authority, the deployment of sanctions, positive reinforcement through recognition and awards, etc.

For example, one hypothesis suggests that material rewards and rewards of recognition (e.g., credit, prizes, eponymy) in science are often exchanged for scientific information and others have found that the reward system of science relies heavily on predetermined institutional values.[35] And as rewards and recognition are highly correlated with the level of distribution of knowledge and that communication of knowledge is what a ‘contribution’ to science means—that it contributes to the common stock of knowledge—then to produce scientific knowledge is fundamentally a product of institutionalization.[36] Scientific findings that do not reflect institutional values are, in a sense, restricted in communication and censored in knowledge distribution. Only ‘relevant’ and ‘interesting’ scientific research and knowledge will be pursued.[37] “[Scientific] knowledge is dependent on, and shaped by, the contexts in which it is created.”[38]

Time Magazine cover for 13 January 1936 with photo of Arthur Compton, winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics; Distribution of knowledge, through media coverage for example, relies heavily on institutional recognition [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Time Magazine cover for 13 January 1936 with photo of Arthur Compton, winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize in Physics; Distribution of knowledge, through media coverage for example, relies heavily on institutional recognition [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Legitimization and Cosmic Ordering

In order to direct knowledge, institutions must supply legitimization for doing so. Legitimization implies both knowledge and values.[39] “Legitimation ‘explains’ the institutional order by ascribing cognitive validity to its objectivated meanings. Legitimation justifies the institutional order by giving a normative dignity to its practical imperatives.”[40] One way this is done is by locating particular institutions and roles “in a comprehensively meaningful world.”[41] Politics and governance, for example, are grounded in a cosmic order of power, justice, law, etc. In the same way, science is located in a world of natural knowledge, truth, and order for instance.[42] Religion, in contrast, is oftentimes found in a cosmic order of good and evil, right and wrong, but also of truth, law, justice/judgment, and order. These factors give normative value to the respective institutions.

As we can see, there is some overlap in religion and science systems of meaning, which can be perceived as posing a threat to the institutional orders. From the perspective of the sociology of knowledge, it is no surprise that religion and science conflict in some instances. In pluralistic societies, competition between rival schools of thought and their accompanying ‘subuniverses of meaning’ is a normal state of affairs. Each school will attempt to establish itself and discredit or totally annihilate the competing knowledge system.

With this overlap of cosmic orders comes an overlap of values as well. While some interpret this as an opportunity for dialogue and/or harmony, it can also easily be perceived as an opportunity for subsuming one institutional order under another. From the perspective of the institution of science for example, religion is sometimes located in science’s frame of reference of ‘knowledge’ about a natural, explicable world. From this perspective, it would be inappropriate—a normative statement—to treat religion as a source of supernatural knowledge. The ultimate legitimization for how to treat religion ‘correctly’ in the natural world order is ‘located’ within the natural cosmology and the community and accompanying practices of science. Conversely, science is sometimes located in a religious frame of reference, interpreted as a religion itself, an ideology, or a philosophy (e.g., scientism). From this perspective, it would be inappropriate to treat science as an ultimate source of knowledge. Moreover, the ‘mixture’ of religion and science is sometimes regarded as inappropriate as well. We can point to the many examples of the assertion that the better the scientist, the less likely they are to be religious, even though other results have contradicted this view.[43] To put it normatively, the more religious, the less likely the scientist is to be perceived as a ‘good’ scientist.

As a quick tangent, it is relevant to mention here that it is quite common for scientists to insist that scientific knowledge is privileged, with special authority and status, and constitutes a direct representation of reality that is independent of perception.[44] This perspective on science is not only limited to scientists either—early sociologists of knowledge excluded the natural sciences from consideration.[45] This assertion, which continues to this day, is despite the fact that it has long been established in the philosophy and historiography of science that the understanding of science is inextricably linked to social factors, demonstrated by first-rate minds, such as Thomas Kuhn and Paul K. Feyerabend.[46] Scientists often seem to perceive this as a threat and “invasion” of their “epistemic territory and authority.”[47]

Returning to the topic of overlap of cosmic orders, when one subuniverse of meaning cannot be subsumed under the other, a continuous threat will be perceived to the entire ‘world,’ for example, when the ‘reality’ of religion is perceived as meaningless in terms of the ‘reality’ of science. This is a common view among the so-called ‘militant atheists,’ like Richard Dawkins, who argues in regard to “organized ignorance,” including religion, “The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science […].”[48] Religion cannot be subsumed under science because it represents ignorance, mental illness,[49] and lack of evidence,[50] while science represents truth, reason, and fact. “The appearance of an alternative symbolic universe poses a threat because its very existence demonstrates empirically that one’s own universe is less than inevitable.”[51] From this perspective, contemporaneous universes are not an option and the threat must be neutralized.

Conflicting universes of meaning need not be limited to that between the universes of religion and of science, but rather we can simply look to the universes of the sciences, including the sciences of different cultures, of different times, of different traditions (e.g., biology vs. chemistry), and even of different and competing theories and interpretations within the same space and time (e.g., ‘classical’ vs. quantum physics prior to the 20th century or competing version of multiverse theory today). This is an ongoing issue, as trans-disciplinary science is difficult to establish due to certain social factors such as bureaucratic impediments and strict disciplinary boundaries[52] and competing models is a normal state of affairs in the sciences.

Universe Maintenance

And this is when the problem of compliance reaches elevated heights—when the very inhabitants of the specific ‘world’ in question hold various versions of the symbolic universe.[53] These ‘heretical’ groups pose both a theoretical threat to the cosmic order and a practical threat to the institutional order.[54] The incumbent universe or the ‘official’ order often retaliates with some repressionist machinations. This ‘repression of the heretics’ often results in the expansion of the official line. In religion and science for example, arguments for God based on scientific findings—the heretical account if we consider mainstream science the dominant episteme—is repressed by atheistic arguments whose representatives also claim their basis in science. This might be considered an expansion of religion into the domain of science and science into the domain of religion respectively, since even though science can provide many arguments for and against a belief in a Creator, the hypothesis is not falsifiable and thus is an extra-scientific statement. Thus we see that “[…] the symbolic universe is not only legitimated but also modified by the conceptual machineries constructed to ward off the challenge of heretical groups within a society” and so the institution is “maintained and expanded at the same time.”[55]

The ‘conceptual machineries’ maintain symbolic universes through “systematization of cognitive and normative legitimations.”[56] For example, the symbolic universe of natural knowledge, truth, and order is maintained by the conceptual machinery of science. (Other obvious machineries include mythology, theology, and philosophy.) Because the conceptual machinery is the property of specialist elites and their knowledge is relatively inaccessible to the general populace, who simultaneously uphold their legitimacy, there is a high degree of power exercised on the part of scientists over the cosmic order and the meanings ascribed to the world, making repression, discrediting, and, ultimately, segregation an easy task.

One method of universe maintenance is through ‘therapy,’ “the application of conceptual machinery to ensure that actual or potential deviants stay within the institutionalized definitions of reality.”[57] Therapy can thus be conceptualized as a form of social control. As therapy is concerned with ‘deviants’ from the ‘official’ line, the conceptual machinery will include a theory of deviance, methods for diagnoses, and treatment or cures.

Man Driven Mad by Priests Hired to Pray for His Recovery by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Man Driven Mad by Priests Hired to Pray for His Recovery by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

 In the context of religion and science, we can look at the characterization of religion as the opiate of the masses or as a mental illness, for example. Thus the theory lies in a sort of psychologization of religion, which may be treated through ‘education’ and ‘fact,’ for instance. ‘Nihilation’ is another form of social control. Instead of treating the deviants through a recognition of their ‘pathogens,’ nihilation denies that which does not conceptually fit within the symbolic universe at hand.

Religion and science are full of examples in this regard. Science, generally speaking, outright denies the existence of the supernatural, since the philosophical premise of science is naturalism. Ghosts, gods, psi phenomena, and religious experiences are all denied existence and those believing in them or doing empirical research in these fields are characterized as ignorant, anti-modern, unreasonable, superstitious, etc. Nihilation can also involve taking account of all deviant ideas of reality in terms of the concepts found in the official order, or subsuming one worldview within the other as mentioned previously. In the above example, ghosts and gods can be conceived in terms of hallucinations and imagination, psi phenomena as quackery, religious experience as simply neuroscientific happenings, etc. Thus through this ‘translation’ of concepts “the negation of one’s universe is subtly changed into an affirmation of it.”[58] Science often reaches and expands into the realm of religion and philosophy,[59] but this is necessary to maintain such claims as above, as scientistics (adherents of scientism) assert there is only knowledge through science and science is the only knowledge. “If the symbolic universe is to comprehend all reality, nothing can be allowed to remain outside its conceptual scope.”[60] And this is exactly the challenge facing scientistics, who believe a total explanation of reality is, at least in theory, possible.

Ordering of History

A final consideration besides habitualization, legitimization, cosmic ordering, and universe maintenance, is that knowledge is also socially constructed via the ordering of history that occurs within symbolic universes, linking past, present, and future in a “meaningful totality.”[61] This is particularly evident in revisionist, specifically positivist, history of science, where elements of the ‘occult’ and ‘superstitious’ practices were weeded out from scientific histories or at the least differentiated from what counts as ‘science,’ even though to do so is to distort how ‘occult science’ was viewed at the time—that is as ‘science’ as such.[62]

The ghost-hunting kit (d. 1936) of Harry Price, a physic researcher, containing cameras, tools for sealing doors & windows, electrical controls, steel tape, drawing instruments, a torch, a bottle of mercury, and powdered graphite for fingerprinting [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

The ghost-hunting kit (1936) of Harry Price, a physic researcher, containing cameras, tools for sealing doors and windows, electrical controls, steel tape, drawing instruments, a torch, a bottle of mercury, and powdered graphite for fingerprinting [credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Science then is sometimes represented as a red thread through time, weaving and winding around, but ultimately avoiding, ‘pseudoscience,’ thus telling a tale of progress and truth.[63] Needless to say, this tale was around when ‘occult science’ was thought of as ‘science’ as such as well. Only following the so-called ‘Scientific Revolution’ did the previously undifferentiated branches astronomy/astrology, alchemy/chemistry, etc. come to be polemically separated.[64] And it was not until the time period between about 1500 and 1800 that there was an increasing articulation of ‘true science’ in contrast to ‘pseudoscience,’[65] thus what presently falls into the category of ‘genuine science’ is historically and socially situated as well.

Conclusion

Thus we have seen that science, too, is a social construct, as well as religion, philosophy, and other forms of knowledge. One challenge to the sociology of knowledge is that if knowledge is a social construct, is that observation not also a social construct? As with discourse analysis, the important thing is to maintain a critical reflection, situating the perspective in the social construction of thought as well. Still, one might ask, is there nothing enduring that we can think on and analyze? From this perspective, there perhaps is not. However, I will argue that there is, but will require us to incorporate some further perspectives, as I will discuss in future blog posts.

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Endnotes

[1] Steven Shapin & Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985), 344.

[2] Steve Fuller, “Knowledge,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 339–340.

[3] E. Doyle McCarthy, “Knowledge, Sociology of,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 340–341.

[4] Ian Varcoe, “Science,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 517–519.

[5] Charalambos Tsekeris, “Scientific Knowledge, Sociology of,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 520–521, here 520.

[6] See, e.g., Trevor J. Pinch & Wiebe E. Bijker, “The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other,” Social Studies of Science 14 (1984), 339–441.

[7] Varcoe (2010), 518.

[8] Karin Knorr Cetina, “Science, Technology and Their Implications,” Craig Calhoun, Chris Rojek, & Bryan Turner, eds., The Sage Handbook of Sociology (London: SAGE Publications, 2005), 546–560, here 548. Many references to challenges to this view of ‘science outside society’ can be found in this work as well.

[9] Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (Garden City: Doubleday, 1966), 61.

[10] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 61.

[11] Inger Furseth & Pål Repstad, An Introduction to the Sociology of Religion: Classical and Contemporary (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 58.

[12] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 61, 92–97.

[13] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 95.

[14] Varcoe (2010), 517–519.

[15] Tsekeris (2010), 520. See also Steven Shapin, A Social History of Truth (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1994).

[16] See Lorraine Daston, “Marvelous Facts and Miraculous Evidence in Early Modern Europe,” James Chandler, Arnold I. Davidson, & Harry Harootunian, eds., Questions of Evidence: Proof, Practice, and Persuasion Across Disciplines (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991), 243–274.

[17] Varcoe (2010), 518.

[18] Bruno Latour & Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 107.

[19] Varcoe (2010), 518.

[20] See Harry M. Collins & Trevor Pinch, The Golem: What You Should Know About Science, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 11, 25, 98, and passim.

[21] For example, ‘nature’ is modified in a laboratory, so that ‘raw’ nature is not even confronted, but rather transformed into miniaturized and remodeled forms and thus is subject to ‘social overhauls.’ See Knorr Cetina (2005), 549.

[22] See Karin Knorr Cetina, “Producing and Reproducing Knowledge: Descriptive or Constructive? Toward a Model of Research Production,” Social Science Information 16 (1977), 669–696; Karin Knorr Cetina, The Manufacture of Knowledge: An Essay on the Constructivist and Contextual Nature of Science (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1981); Latour & Woolgar, (1986).

[23] Knorr Cetina (2005), 547.

[24] Lena Eriksson, “Science, Social Construction of,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 519–520, here 519.

[25] Knorr Cetina (2005), 549.

[26] Anon., “Berger & Luckmann: The Social Construction of Reality,” The Society for Social Research, Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago (n.d.), http://ssr1.uchicago.edu/NEWPRE/CULT98/Berger.html (accessed 15 july 2014).

[27] Anon. (n.d.).

[28] Discrediting of scientific results sometimes occurs not due to any disproof, but due to loss of interest in the topic, death or discrediting of investigators, or because more ‘interesting,’ but similar issues arise. See Knorr Cetina (2005), 551.

[29] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 85–92.

[30] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 88.

[31] Robert K. Merton, “The Matthew Effect in Science: Reward and Communication Systems of Science Are Considered,” Science 159.3810 (1968), 56–63, here 60.

[32] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 58.

[33] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 55.

[34] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 62.

[35] Merton (1968), 56. See also, Robert K. Merton, “Priorities in Scientific Discovery,” Norman W. Storer, ed., The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973a), 286–324. On credit as reward, particularly limitations of the notion, see also, Latour & Woolgar (1986), 192–194.

[36] Merton (1968), 59–60.

[37] Eriksson (2010), 519.

[38] Eriksson (2010), 519.

[39] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 93–95.

[40] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 93.

[41] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 103.

[42] On the legitimization of science via institutional values, see Robert K. Merton, “The Normative Structure of Science,” Norman W. Storer, ed., The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973b), 267–278. Merton finds that four sets of institutional imperatives direct the scientific ethos: universalism, communism (meaning the collective ownership of scientific knowledge), disinterestedness, and organized skepticism. See 270–278. See also Merton (1973a), in which originality is also emphasized.

[43] John H. Evans & Michael S. Evans, “Religion and Science: Beyond the Epistemological Conflict Narrative,” Annual Review of Sociology 34 (2008), 87–105.

[44] Eriksson (2010), 520.

[45] Such as Karl Mannheim and Max Scheler. For their works, see Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1936); Max Scheler, Versuche zu einer Soziologie des Wissens (Munich: Duncker and Humblot, 1924).

[46] Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970 [1962]); Paul K. Feyerabend, Against Method (London: New Left Books, 1975).

[47] Knorr Cetina (2005), 558, n.1. See also, Thomas F. Gieryn, Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

[48] Richard Dawkins Foundation, “Save Our Secularism Alerts,” n.d., available at http://www.richarddawkins.net/projects/5959 (accessed 3 March 2014).

[49] Richard Dawkins, “Viruses of the Mind,” Bo Dahlbom, ed., Dennett and His Critics: Demystifying Mind (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 13–27.

[50] Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 330.

[51] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 108.

[52] Eriksson (2010), 519.

[53] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 106.

[54] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 107.

[55] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 107.

[56] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 109.

[57] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 112–113.

[58] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 115.

[59] See, for example, Mikael Stenmark, How to Relate Science and Religion (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2004).

[60] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 116.

[61] Berger and Luckmann (1966), 103.

[62] See, for example, Wouter J. Hanegraaff, “The Notion of ‘Occult Sciences’ in the Wake of the Enlightenment,” Monika Neugebauer-Wölk, Renko Geffarth, & Markus Meumann, eds., Aufklärung und Esoterik: Wege in die Moderne [Hallesche Beiträge zur Europäischen Aufklärung 50] (Walter de Gruyter: Berlin, 2013), 93–95, available at http://www.academia.edu/6156972/The_Notion_of_Occult_Sciences_in_the_Wake_of_the_Enlightenment (accessed 21 July 2014), which also contains references to many other sources relevant to this observation.

[63] The notions of ‘progress’ and ‘truth’ have been effectively challenged in the philosophy of science since the 1960s on, continuing to be debated today. Some important contributions in this regard are Karl Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1959) and Conjectures and Refutations (1962), the aforementioned work of Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), and Larry Laudan’s Progress and Its Problems (1977), to name a few. Despite the recognition of the ‘problem of progress’ in the philosophy, history, and sociology of science, the idea of ‘progress’ continues to pervade textbooks in the natural sciences. See Mansoor Niaz, “Conclusion: Inductive Method as a Chimera,” Mansoor Niaz, Critical Appraisal of Physical Science as a Human Enterprise: Dynamics of Scientific Progress, 175–186, passim.

[64] J. I. (Hans) Bakker, “Scientific Revolution,” George Ritzer & Ryan, J. Michael, eds., The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology (Hoboken: Wiley, 2010), available at http://wustl.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=624726 (accessed July 14, 2014), 521–522, here 521.

[65] Bakker (2010), 520.

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