The Many Faces of Science: An Introduction to Scientists, Values, and Society

The Many Faces of Science: An Introduction to Scientists, Values, and Society

The Many Faces of Science: An Introduction to Scientists, Values, and Society

The Many Faces of Science: An Introduction to Scientists, Values, and Society

Synopsis

The development of modern science and its increasing impact on our life and culture is one of the great stories of our time. Coming to understand that story and coming to terms with the institution of modern science should be an important part of the education of every student. In The Many Faces of Science, Leslie Stevenson and Henry Byerly masterfully and painlessly provide the basic information and the philosophical reflection students need to gain such understanding. Making good use of case study methods, the authors introduce us to dozens of figures from the history of science, highlighting both heroes and villains. Providing an elementary sketch of the development of science through the lives of its practitioners, Stevenson and Byerly bring the story alive through the examination of the often mixed motives of scientists, as well as the conflicting values people bring to science and to their perceptions of its impact on society. They also explore the relationship between scientific practice and political and economic power. Brief, accessible, and rich in anecdotes, personal asides, and keen insight, The Many Faces of Science is the ideal interdisciplinary introduction for nonscientists in courses on science studies, science and society, and science and human values. It will also prove useful as supplementary reading in courses on science in philosophy, sociology, and political science.

Excerpt

The initial idea for a book like this arose from Leslie Stevenson designing and teaching a small course-unit entitled "Uses and Misuses of Science" for students in the Faculty of Science in the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. A term's research leave in 1990 (thanks to the University of St. Andrews) enabled him to write a first draft of this book. This time was spent in Macquarrie University in Sydney, Australia, and thanks are due for hospitality and intellectual feedback there. However, with only part of his teaching and research time available for this project, L. S. found it difficult to bring it to completion single-handed.

Meanwhile, Henry Byerly had for some years been teaching a course entitled "Science, Technology, and Values," as well as other courses in the history and philosophy of science, at the University of Arizona at Tucson. Spencer Carr of Westview Press put us in touch with each other, and we quickly found sufficient commonality of approach and complementarity of expertise for a jointly authored project to be attractive. We met for an intensive and stimulating two weeks' collaborative work in St. Andrews in 1993 and again in the somewhat warmer surroundings of Tucson in 1994 (aided by research and travel grants from the School of Philosophical and Anthropological Studies at St. Andrews).

Our collaboration has extended over every section of the book. L. S. drafted about two-thirds of the case studies and philosophical discussion; H. B. added more case studies and historical material. But every sentence has been gone over by both of us (and has been put through several computer systems in the process!). We have thus achieved together something that neither of us would have done alone.

Science shows many faces--it is the work of a great variety of heroic individuals and evolving scientific communities. Science and its works evoke hopes and fears, boundless admiration and deep loathing. In Science in a Free Society (1978), Paul Feyerabend asked sardonically, "What's so great about science?" (73). His challenge was to vindicate the supposed special authority of scientific method, an authority that makes its pronouncements more worthy of rational belief than those of other "traditions" such as religions, folklore, and cultural beliefs of any kind. He claimed that no good answer can be found. We are less pes-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.