social construction of science

Neo Martinez szmrtnz at
Mon Apr 15 15:09:05 EST 1996

On Thu, 11 Apr 1996, SL Forsburg wrote:

> Neo Martinez wrote:
> > The
> > stronger feminist/constructivist response is that the notion that there is
> > something "objective" going on that is independent of point of view is a
> > specious and historically male proposed ideology (e.g., compare the
> > semantics of "hard objective facts" with "soft subjective views." it looks
> > pretty familiarly like our conventional male/female dichotomy to me!).
> ...........snip...........
> I see, so reality is a specious, historically male ideology?  And truth
> IS relative?  This is the part I just can't agree with.  (I refuse
> to give men sole credit for reality!  :-)

Instead of credit, I would assign blame for promoting an intolerant 
ideology as "proper" science.

> >  Without facts really existing, what do scientists have?  They have
> > a community that enguages in particular activities that value explicit
> > statement of hypotheses and assumptions, critical empirical and
> > reproducible evaluation of statements, along with vigorous communication
> > and exchange of ideas regarding these activities.  
>    I argue that we have the same with facts really existing too.
> Moreover, with facts, we may actually accomplish something real.  

Here's where realists start slipping up.  The bottom line is that saying
something is "real" is redundant and tautological.  What's the difference
between saying, "this ball is blue" and "this ball is Really blue" ? I
would say the latter represents a rather lame attempt to turn up the
volume on the claim. 
	We are supposed to believe in reality so we can do "something
real."  Listen to the language.  "Get real!" "Like really _man_!"  I've
wanted to write something titled "Real is Really Cool."  That is, the idea
that facts are real is a current and hopefully passing fad in science.  It
contributes little but intolerance (you dare question reality?!) and an
inflated and contrived sense of self-importance...e.g., "Scientists are
better than lawyers.  Science is better than politics," etc.  Can't we
just say that they are different human activities with different rules and
conventions which should be judged by what they contribute to individuals
and society? 


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