Sociology - Science

Generally to do with Science as a belief system for A2 AQA Sociology. Very brief and simple

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Open Belief System - Popper.

Falsificationism - all ideas are open to criticism and testing. Knowledge is cumulative - it builds. Nothing is sacred or absolute truth - things can always be questioned.

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Merton CUDOS

Science can only thrive as a major institution if it receives support from other institutions and values. Science needs an 'ethos' to make scientists serve the goal of increasing scientific knowledge. C is for COMMUNISM - not keeping things private. e.g scientists must share by publishing findings. U is for UNIVERSALISM - universal, objective criteria such as testing. D is for DISINTERESTEDNESS - being committed to discovering knowledge for it's own sake. O and S are for ORGANISED SCEPTICISM - no knowledge claim is 'truth' or 'sacred'.

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Science as a closed system

Polanyi argues all belief systems reject fundamental challenges to their knowledge claims and science is no different. Kuhn - PARADIGM - a set of shared assumptions. Any scientist who challenges the paradigm is ridiculed, unless it is in a period of 'scientific revolution.'

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Evans Pritchard - Witchcraft in the Azande

If something bad happens, the people think it is witchcraft. They admit a potion or 'benge' to a chicken. If it dies, the accuser is the source of witchcraft. (Very brief,shortened down description). Evans Pritchard says the belief system performs useful social functions. e.g encourages neighbours to respect each other. BUT the belief system is highly resistant to challenges, the believes are trapped within their own 'idiom of belief'.

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Marxism, Feminism, Postmodernism and Science

Marxism and Feminism - scientific knowledge serves interests of dominant groups. (Ruling Class/Men.) Postmodernism - Science has become 'technoscience' serving capitalist's interest by making stuff for profit. Lyotard - META NARRATIVES - Science is a 'big story' that falsely claims to possess the truth.

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