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The Politics of Postmodern Philosophy of Science

Joseph Rouse
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 58, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 607-627
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188483
Page Count: 21
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The Politics of Postmodern Philosophy of Science
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Abstract

Modernism in the philosophy of science demands a unified story about what makes an inquiry scientific (or a successful science). Fine's "natural ontological attitude" (NOA) is "postmodern" in joining trust in local scientific practice with suspicion toward any global interpretation of science to legitimate or undercut that trust. I consider four readings of this combination of trust and suspicion and their consequences for the autonomy and cultural credibility of the sciences. Three readings take respectively Fine's trusting attitude, his emphasis upon local practice, and his antiessentialism about science as most fundamental to NOA. A fourth, more adequate reading, prompted by recent feminist interpretations of science, offers less restrictive readings of both Fine's trust and his suspicion toward approaching science with "ready-made philosophical engines" (Fine 1986b, 177).

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