"An ambitious attempt to outline an alternative to the dominant philosophical and social constructivist efforts to make sense of science . . . extends his examination of practice, local knowledge, and the politics of science into a full-fledged conception of philosophy of science as cultural studies."―Thomas Nickles, Isis, Vol. 88, No. 2, 1997
From the Back Cover
Summarizing this century's major debates over realism and the rationality of scientific knowledge, Joseph Rouse believes that these disputes oversimplify the political and cultural significance of the sciences. He provides an alternative understanding of science that focuses on practices rather than knowledge. Rouse first outlines the shared assumptions by ostensibly opposed interpretive stances toward science: scientific realism, social constructivism, empiricism, and postempiricist historical rationalism. He then advances cultural studies as an alternative approach, one that understands the sciences as ongoing patterns of situated activity whose material setting is part of practice. Cultural studies of science, the author suggests, take seriously their own participation in and engagement with the culture of science, rejecting the purported detachment of earlier philosophical or sociological standpoints. Rather, such studies offer specific, critical discussions of how and why science matters, and to whom, and how opportunities for meaningful understanding and action are transformed by scientific practices.