Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge - cover image


Jeff Kochan

Published On





  • English

Print Length

444 pages (viii + 436)


Paperback156 x 23 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.9" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 25 x 234 mm(6.14" x 1" x 9.21")


Paperback1371g (48.36oz)
Hardback1763g (62.19oz)

OCLC Number





  • PDX


  • PHI018000
  • SCI075000
  • SOC026040
  • PHI000000


  • B3279.H49


  • sociology of scientific knowledge
  • Martin Heidegger
  • existential conception of science
  • philosophy of science
  • social science
  • history of science
  • Science and Technology Studies
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Science as Social Existence

Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge

  • Jeff Kochan (author)
In this bold and original study, Jeff Kochan constructively combines the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) with Martin Heidegger’s early existential conception of science. Kochan shows convincingly that these apparently quite different approaches to science are, in fact, largely compatible, even mutually reinforcing.

By combining Heidegger with SSK, Kochan argues, we can explicate, elaborate, and empirically ground Heidegger’s philosophy of science in a way that makes it more accessible and useful for social scientists and historians of science. Likewise, incorporating Heideggerian phenomenology into SSK renders SKK a more robust and attractive methodology for use by scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Kochan’s ground-breaking reinterpretation of Heidegger also enables STS scholars to sustain a principled analytical focus on scientific subjectivity, without running afoul of the orthodox subject-object distinction they often reject.

Science as Social Existence is the first book of its kind, unfurling its argument through a range of topics relevant to contemporary STS research. These include the epistemology and metaphysics of scientific practice, as well as the methods of explanation appropriate to social scientific and historical studies of science. Science as Social Existence puts concentrated emphasis on the compatibility of Heidegger’s existential conception of science with the historical sociology of scientific knowledge, pursuing this combination at both macro- and micro-historical levels.

Beautifully written and accessible, Science as Social Existence puts new and powerful tools into the hands of sociologists and historians of science, cultural theorists of science, Heidegger scholars, and pluralist philosophers of science.


Jeff Kochan's book is distinguished by clearly formulated theses, convincing arguments, and far-reaching consequences. It continues the tradition of existential-phenomenological theories of science begun by Joseph Kockelmans, Patrick Heelan, Theodore Kisiel, and Martin Eger.

Dimitri Ginev

"Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge". Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (1538-1617), 2019.

Full Review

Additional Resources


To read a fascinating symposium of critiques of Kochan's work (Riggio, Palladino, Schyfte & Sassower) and Kochan's responses (here & here) organised by Social Epistemology Review & Reply Collective, visit:


Chapter One - The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Phenomenology, and the Problem of the External World

(pp. 17–52)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Two - A Minimal Realism for Science Studies

(pp. 53–110)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Three - Finitude, Humility, and the Bloor-Latour Debate

(pp. 111–150)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Four - Things, Thinking, and the Social Foundations of Logic

(pp. 151–224)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Five - Mathēsis and the Emergence of Early-Modern Science

(pp. 225–282)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Six - Mathematics, Experiment, and the Ends of Scientific Practice

(pp. 283–346)
  • Jeff Kochan

Chapter Seven - Conclusion: Subjects, Systems, and Other Unfinished Business

(pp. 347–384)
  • Jeff Kochan


(pp. 1–16)
  • Jeff Kochan


Jeff Kochan

Associated Fellow at University of Konstanz