Title page for ETD etd-102098-101838

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Collier, James H.
Author's Email Address jcollier@english.umass.edu
URN etd-102098-101838
Title The Structure of Meta-Scientific Claims: Toward a Philosophy of Science and Technology Studies
Degree PhD
Department Science and Technology Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Pitt, Joseph C. Committee Chair
Burian, Richard M. Committee Member
Fuhrman, Ellsworth R. Committee Member
Fuller, Steven W. Committee Member
Moyer, Burt Committee Member
  • Epistomology
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Meta-scientific
Date of Defense 1998-08-10
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation examines the structure of epistemological claims made about science within the

field of science and technology studies (STS). The social constructivist invocation to put science in

"context" necessarily implies a logic of justification. Made explicit, this logic of justification

provides a basis on which to adjudicate meta-scientific claims. The appeal to context blurs

internal and external references, offers an ontological starting point for STS accounts of science,

serves as the basis for methodological debate, and refers to values which anchor a notion of

scientific objectivity. Hence: Contexts are assumed to exist. Contexts can be accessed and

demarcated from other contexts in which they may be embedded; as a result, contexts are not

paradigm-bound. Since contexts exist, the elements composing them are taken to exist in some

logical and ontological relation to one another. Contexts are taken to affect scientific practice.

Since contexts affect scientific practice some logical and ontological relation exists among the

elements of the context, a given scientific practice, and the world that practice describes. Contexts

are taken as temporally stable; infinite regress is not an immediate consequence of a local

explanation of scientific practice. Since contexts exist in a stable, ontological relationship to the

scientific practice they interpret or explain, criteria for justifying one context-based perspective

over another are necessarily implied. Contexts necessarily imply justificatory criteria and imply a

means for adjudicating among contexts and context-based statements. Since contexts imply a

logic of justification independent of the scientific practice being examined meta-scientific

evidence consists of observation statements. Context-based observation statements can, initially,

be adjudicated a priori. A form of meta-scientific realism exists. If a form of meta-scientific realism

exists, we can determine which contexts explain scientific practice and which do not. As a result

we have epistemological claims about science which can be adjudicated on realist grounds which

are not just the product of designated contexts. The future of STS turns on articulating a meta-scientific

realism in relation to scientific practice and truths about the world. Finally, I advocate a

contingent foundationalism on which STS can be made relevant to an understanding of science

and technology.

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  diss_toc.pdf 10.33 Kb 00:00:02 00:00:01 00:00:01 < 00:00:01 < 00:00:01
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  vita.pdf 16.10 Kb 00:00:04 00:00:02 00:00:02 00:00:01 < 00:00:01

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