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Landmarks in the History of Science » Physics-Astronomy » The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science [inscribed and signed by author], 1995


The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science [inscribed and signed by author], 1995

Autor: Andrew [Andy] Pickering
Cod: 8855
In stoc: Da
870000.00Lei

Detalii produs

''This ambitious book by one of the most original and provocative thinkers in science studies offers a sophisticated new understanding of the nature of scientific, mathematical, and engineering practice and the production of scientific knowledge.
 

Andrew Pickering offers a new approach to the unpredictable nature of change in science, taking into account the extraordinary number of factors—social, technological, conceptual, and natural—that interact to affect the creation of scientific knowledge. In his view, machines, instruments, facts, theories, conceptual and mathematical structures, disciplined practices, and human beings are in constantly shifting relationships with one another—‘mangled.' together in unforeseeable ways that are shaped by the contingencies of culture, time, and place.
 

Situating material as well as human agency in their larger cultural context, Pickering uses case studies to show how this picture of the open, changeable nature of science advances a richer understanding of scientific work both past and present. Pickering examines in detail the building of the bubble chamber in particle physics, the search for the quark, the construction of the quarternion system in mathematics, and the introduction of computer-controlled machine tools in industry. He uses these examples to address the most basic elements of scientific practice—the development of experimental apparatus, the production of facts, the development of theory, and the interrelation of machines and social organization.
 

The Mangle of Practice continues the work of Pickering’s groundbreaking Constructing Quarks, challenging accepted ideas about the practice of science, the role of the scientist, and the nature of scientific truth.''

 

                                           The University of Chicago Press

''Pickering presents something approximating the following arguments:

 

* There are always many different theoretical accounts for any given set of data, each of which is equally good in matching the data.

 

* The theories that we prefer to keep in our heads influence the observations we make. The collection of data is not theory neutral.

 

* Our theoretical preferences and our experimental (data-taking) practices reinforce each other symbiotically, making it difficult, if not impossible, for discordant data or unfashionable theories to get a fair hearing, or even to be noticed.

 

* There are sound sociological and philosophical reasons for the situation described above; it would be naive for us to expect otherwise.

 

* Nevertheless, the typical account given by scientists of their activities does not mention these points, but instead treats theories as randomly generated hypothesis (Einstein’s free creations of the scientific imagination), which are winnowed out by confrontation with facts produced by experiments capable of demonstrating unequivocally that a given hypothesis is untenable. That some theories survive this winnowing process is ascribed by scientists to their being a reasonably accurate description of 'reality'.

 

* What scientists call 'reality' is what accords with those theories and experimental practices that have defeated other theories and other experimental practices in historical and sociological contests. These contests are not usually described by scientists. (The careful description of such contests is the central feature of Pickering’s book.)''

 

Constructing Quarks: A Sociological History of Particle Physics, by Andrew Pickering, reviewed by Hugh N. Pendleton in Physics Today 38, 7, 75 (1985)

''Our tendency [is] to respect the hard work of well-funded communities of clever [emphasis added EM] people. Who wants to say that all those particle physicists with their incredibly expensive machines and instruments have got it wrong about quarks?''
 

                                         Andrew Pickering, The Mangle of Practice, p. 181

Our opinion is that from the beginning, the quarks were conceived as 'mathematical entities' with fractional electric charges of 1/3 type (?), and never confirmed by experiments.

In fact Murray Gell-Mann offered to the physicists, exactly what they expected: a dogma, an absurdity—nothing more than a holy trinity—that is, the quarks.



The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency and Science, University of Chicago Press, 1995, p. 296;
paperback; inscribed and signed by author; fine condition.



Price: USD 200,000.00