Review Of "Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis" By B. Barnes, D. Bloor, And J. Henry

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For many years, Edinburgh University has been one of the most important centers of inquiry into the social bases of scientific knowledge. This volume represents an attempt by three of Edinburgh's most luminous scholars to make available a coherent and inclusive introduction to the sociology of knowledge. Although conservative by recent standards, within its span of concerns the work is a resounding success. With a high degree of clarity and scholarly sophistication, the authors succeed in laying out a compelling intellectual narrative. Theoretical treatments of issues in interpretation, categorization, negotiation, communal interests, and historical change are accompanied by a broad range of illuminating case materials. A concluding chapter on the social grounds of mathematical proof is an outstanding addition to this assemblage. Less fortunate is the volume's silence on issues concerning the rhetorical, reflexive, and political dimensions of the making of scientific meaning. Otherwise, an excellent introduction to the field. For upper-division undergraduates and above.


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