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Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact [Paperback]

by Ludwik Fleck, Thaddeus J. Trenn, Robert K. Merton, Frederick Bradley, Thomas S. Kuhn
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 15, 1981 0226253252 978-0226253251
Originally published in German in 1935, this monograph anticipated solutions to problems of scientific progress, the truth of scientific fact and the role of error in science now associated with the work of Thomas Kuhn and others. Arguing that every scientific concept and theory—including his own—is culturally conditioned, Fleck was appreciably ahead of his time. And as Kuhn observes in his foreword, "Though much has occurred since its publication, it remains a brilliant and largely unexploited resource."

"To many scientists just as to many historians and philosophers of science facts are things that simply are the case: they are discovered through properly passive observation of natural reality. To such views Fleck replies that facts are invented, not discovered. Moreover, the appearance of scientific facts as discovered things is itself a social construction, a made thing. A work of transparent brilliance, one of the most significant contributions toward a thoroughly sociological account of scientific knowledge."—Steven Shapin, Science

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (August 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226253252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226253251
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,884 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I first encountered Fleck's work while I was a doctoral student at NYU. The clarity and orginality of his thoughts completely captivated me. This work is truly one which has changed my life and my way of thinking. Fleck was indeed a pioneer and prophet--I continually re-read "Genesis & Development of A Scientific Fact," each time gaining greater insight and appreciation for its depth and scope. Fleck's monograph is truly an original and groundbreaking tour de force--mandatory reading from a true (but sadly overlooked) genious.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Original, Thought-Changing Work April 13, 2006
I first read Genesis & Development of A Scientific Fact while I was a graduate student at New York University. While the work was admittedly a challenging one, it was, without doubt, one of the most truly original, thought-changing works I've ever read. Fleck was, in my opinion, a true visionary who forwarded an extremely provactive thesis about the origin of scientific "facts." Fleck's monograph is high on my short list of "must read" intellectual works. Other similar works worth reading include: Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, and Giambattista Vico, The New Science.
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14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific facts: constructed, not discovered? February 13, 1999
By A Customer
If you thought scientific knowledge was clear, objective, and unbiased, but fortunately became enlightened by your readings of Kuhn, think again!! Rediscovered by Kuhn himself, Fleck exposes in a brief, very-well illustrated monogrpah, how facts -such as the apparently objective Wassermann reaction for syphilis- are constructed, not passively discovered. From medieval magic to modern medicine, the concept of syphilis has been transformed. I urge you to read Fleck's work and evaluate for yourself why he anticipated his time. Enjoy!
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