Michael Polanyi And His Generation: Origins Of The Social Construction Of Science

Paperback | July 30, 2013

byMary Jo Nye

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In Michael Polanyi and His Generation, Mary Jo Nye investigates the role that Michael Polanyi and several of his contemporaries played in the emergence of the social turn in the philosophy of science. This turn involved seeing science as a socially based enterprise that does not rely on empiricism and reason alone but on social communities, behavioral norms, and personal commitments. Nye argues that the roots of the social turn are to be found in the scientific culture and political events of Europe in the 1930s, when scientific intellectuals struggled to defend the universal status of scientific knowledge and to justify public support for science in an era of economic catastrophe, Stalinism and Fascism, and increased demands for applications of science to industry and social welfare.
 
At the center of this struggle was Polanyi, who Nye contends was one of the first advocates of this new conception of science. Nye reconstructs Polanyi’s scientific and political milieus in Budapest, Berlin, and Manchester from the 1910s to the 1950s and explains how he and other natural scientists and social scientists of his generation—including J. D. Bernal, Ludwik Fleck, Karl Mannheim, and Robert K. Merton—and the next, such as Thomas Kuhn, forged a politically charged philosophy of science, one that newly emphasized the social construction of science.

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In Michael Polanyi and His Generation, Mary Jo Nye investigates the role that Michael Polanyi and several of his contemporaries played in the emergence of the social turn in the philosophy of science. This turn involved seeing science as a socially based enterprise that does not rely on empiricism and reason alone but on social communi...

Mary Jo Nye is the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor of the Humanities Emerita and professor of history emerita at Oregon State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:428 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:July 30, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610317X

ISBN - 13:9780226103174

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
One / Scientific Culture in Europe and the Refugee Generation
Two / Germany and Weimar Berlin as the City of Science
Three / Origins of a Social Perspective: Doing Physical Chemistry in Weimar Berlin
Four / Chemical Dynamics and Social Dynamics in Berlin and Manchester
Five / Liberalism and the Economic Foundations of the “Republic of Science”
Six / Scientific Freedom and the Social Functions of Science
Seven / Political Foundations of the Philosophies of Science of Popper, Kuhn, and Polanyi
Eight / Personal Knowledge: Argument, Audiences, and Sociological Engagement
Epilogue / SSK, Scientific Constructivism, and the Paradoxical Legacy of Polanyi and the 1930s Generation

List of Abbreviations
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Professor Nye’s splendid book is an exemplary case study of major developments in twentieth century science, seen from an essentially cosmic viewpoint, with high science indebted to a whole spectrum of cultural factors, from philosophy to politics, from economics to world history.”