“The nations of our day cannot prevent conditions of equality from spreading in their midst. But it depends upon themselves whether equality is to lead to servitude or freedom, knowledge or barbarism, prosperity or wretchedness.” –Alexis de Tocqueville
“And I, who have sprung from them, I, who have lived, toiled, and suffered with them—who, more than any other have purchased the right to say that I know them—I come to establish against all mankind the personality of the people.” –Jules Michelet
“Only say how it essentially was.” (wie es eigentlich gewesen) –Leopold von Ranke
“Pure Reason, incapable of any limitation, is the Deity itself.” –Hegel
“Reason obeys itself, and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.” –Thomas Paine
“Kings will be tyrants from policy, when subjects are rebels from principle.” –Edmund Burke
“What is the Third Estate? Nothing. What does it want to be? Something.” –Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
“The time will come when the sun will shine only upon free men who know no other master but their reason; when tyrants and slaves, priests and their stupid or hypocritical instruments will exist only in works of history and on the stage; and when we shall think of them only to pity their victims and their dupes.” –Condorcet
“I have recorded the triumph of barbarism and religion.” -Edward Gibbon
“History should be written as philosophy.” –Voltaire
“The true and the made are convertible.” (Verum Factum)
” ‘Have the courage to use your own understanding,’ is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.” -Immanuel Kant
In “The Social Construction of What?” (1999), Ian Hacking argues that constructionist accounts of scientific theories tend to lose sight of a basic question: what, exactly, is it that’s supposed to be constructed?
In 1996, physicist Alan Sokal perpetrated a hoax by submitting a nonsense article to an academic journal of postmodern studies, and subsequently deriding the journal for publishing it. The hoax was, and remains, a significant salvo in the “Science Wars.”
Clifford Geertz (1926–2006) was probably the best known American anthropologist of his generation, famous for his literary approach to ethnography, culture, and religious studies, and his development of the concept of “thick description.”
Because many, if not most, of the things with which science has to deal cannot be directly observed, the central question of science is not “What is the truth about nature?” but “what counts as an empirically adequate explanation?”
Because German science held such a prominent place in culture before WWI, it could not escape the fallout when the war ended in disaster. German physicists needed a way to reestablish their prestige, and this meant repudiating their prewar past in order to make room for an up-to-date theory that would not be tarnished by earlier failures.A new mania for a romantic “life philosophy,” which rejected the mechanical and mechanistic attitudes of the British in favor of an experience-based, intuitive holism became fashionable. In physics, the new model incorporated the values of “life philosophy” by rejecting causality as the principle explanatory mechanism.
In a series of essays written, Robert M. Young argued that scientific theories, like all other products of the human mind, arise out of a specific social context. Theories necessarily incorporate the values and concerns of the people who create them, which are themselves expressions of their specific historical context. Therefore, if we want to understand evolution, we need to understand the history of Victorian England.
According to Boyle, the best method in natural philosophy (and politics) was experiment and observation. Hobbes disagreed. He believed that observation could never displace deduction as a form of reasoning because observation always admitted of multiple explanations, and without rigorous definitions there was no way to decide between them. No number of experiments with air pumps could establish whether a vacuum was present or not unless Boyle could define what vacuum, air, etc., were.
Evelyn Fox Keller is a leader among a generation of feminist scholars interested in questions of gender and science. Although feminist philosophy of science is a complex and controversial field, and these scholars frequently disagree among themselves as to what changes are desirable or realistically attainable, they share a commitment to broadening the scope of science so that it does not devalue feminine perspectives as a kind of structural principle.
Whereas Kuhn had suggested that science might not be an entirely rational activity, and Feyerabend had drawn certain philosophical and political conclusions from a rather more strident belief, David Bloor argued for an approach that ignores the truth status of scientific theories and instead concentrates on their social context of production. Needless to say, the idea that truth claims arising out of science can be ignored at all, let alone as a systematic methodological principle, was and is controversial.