Some Issues in the Real Use of Science

  • J. O’Neill
Conference paper
Part of the Institut für Höhere Studien — Institute for Advanced Studies IHS-Studies book series (INHSIAS)


My comments are addressed to some issues in conceiving of the real and ideal uses of scientific knowledge. They derive from the practices found in the papers 1 was asked to review and from observations gathered throughout the meetings. As a short-hand device, the sense of the issues I raise derives from trying to keep together the internalist and externalist programs in the sociology of science. We wish to avoid both extremes of realism and idealism when conceiving of science. In the first case, scientific realism shuts out political idealism because its prescriptive realistic science excuses it from such concerns. In the latter case, scientific idealism is defeated by scientific practice and remains two removes from the ideal community of knowledge it is unable to institutionalize.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adorno, T. W., et al.: The Postivist Dispute in German Sociology. Transl. by G. Adey and D. Frisby. London 1976.Google Scholar
  2. Knorr, D.: Tinkering Toward Success: Prelude to a Theory of Scientific Practice. Theory and Society 8, 1979, 347–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Latour, B.: The Three Little Dinosaurs or a Sociologist’s Nightmare. Fundamenta Scientiae 1, 1980, 79–85.Google Scholar
  4. Latour, B., and S. Woolgar: Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts. Beverly Hills 1979.Google Scholar
  5. Lynch, M.E.: Art and Artifact in Laboratory Science: A Study of Shop Work and Shop Talk in a Research Laboratory. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation in Social Sciences. University of California, Irvine 1979.Google Scholar
  6. Morrison, K.L.: Reader‘s Work: Devices for achieving pedagogic events in textual materials for readers as novices to sociology. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. York University, Toronto 1976.Google Scholar
  7. O’Neill, J.: Historian’s Artifacts: Some Production Issues in Ethno-History. Unpublished paper given at SSRC/BSA International Conference on Practical Reasoning and Discourse Processes. St. Hugh’s College, Oxford 1979.Google Scholar
  8. O’Neill, J.: Marxism and the Two Sciences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 11, 1981, 281–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. O’Neill
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of SociologyYork UniversityDownsviewCanada

Personalised recommendations