Ideology & Science

  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 31-05-16 21:05
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  • Science as a belief system
  • Science as an open belief system
    • Popper claims science as an 'open' belief system, open to criticism and testing.    Science is based on the falsification principle. Scientific knowledge isn't absolute truth, as it can always be tested and potentially falsified.
  • Polanyi argues that belief systems have 3 devices to sustain themselves in the face of contradictory evidence: circularity, subsidiary explanations and denying legitimacy to rival beliefs.
    • Closed belief systems
      • Horton distinguishes between open and closed belief systems. Like Popper, he sees science as an open belief system. However, religion is a closed belief system:it makes knowledge claims that cannot be overturned.
      • A closed belief system has 'get out clauses' that prevent it from being disproved in the eyes of its believers.
  • Scientific paradigms- Kuhn argues that a science such as physics is based on a paradigm(set of shared assumptions)This tells scientists what reality is like, defining problems etc.    Most of the time scientists are engaged in normal science within the paradigm.        Scientists who challenge the paradigm are likely to be ridiculed.
    • Science as a closed system
  • The sociology of scientific knowledge
    • Interpretivists argue that scientific knowledge is socially constructed.     Knorr Cetina argues that what scientists study in the laboratory is highly 'constructed' and far removed from the 'natural' world they are supposedly studying.          Woolgar argues that scientists have to persuade the scientific community to accept their interpretations of the world. A scientifc fact is simply a shared, socially constructed belief.
    • Marxism and Feminism see science as serving the interests of dominant groups - the R/C and men. Many scientific developments are driven by capitalism's need for knowledge to make profit. Postmodernists also reject sciences claims to have 'the truth'
      • Postmodernist Lyotard argues that science is a meta narrative- it's just one more 'discourse' that is used to dominate people.
  • Science&tech have led to an enormous impact on society over last few centuries, undermining religion and leading to a widespread 'faith in science'. It enables us to explain, predict and control the world.
    • Science may cause problems as well as solve them, through 'manufactured risks' e.g. pollution, global warming, and weapons of mass destruction.
  • Ideology
    • 'idelogy' refers to a belief system, worldview or set of ideas.
    • Marxism : Marxism sees society divided into 2 classes. The capitalist class exploits the w/c for profit. R/c ideology prevents the class consciousness developing by legitimating capitalism.  But Gramsci believes that ultimately the w/c will overthrow capitalism, led by a party of class conscious 'organic intellectuals.'
      • It may not be ideology that prevents attempts to overthrow capitlaism it may be economic factors (e.g. fear of unemployment) that keep workers from rebelling
    • Feminism: see gender inequality as legitimated by patriarchal ideology. Religious beliefs and practices often define women as inferior: e.g. menstruating women regarded as unclean/excluded from rituals.
      • Not all religious belief systems subordinate women: e.g. before monotheistic patriarchal religions, matriarchal religions with female deities were common.


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