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

Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge Jeff Kochan
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-410-7 £18.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-411-4 £29.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-412-1 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-413-8 £5.99
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-414-5 £5.99
XML ISBN: 978-1-78374-460-2 £0.00

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To read a fascinating symposium of critiques of Kochan's work (Riggio, PalladinoSchyfter & Sassower) and Kochan's responses (here & here) organised by Social Epistemology Review & Reply Collective, visit: https://social-epistemology.com/2018/12/18/disassembling-the-system-jeff-kochan/

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, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, available online, 5 Jan 2019

'...original and thought-provoking. There is plenty here to justify joining Heidegger, the Edinburghers, and Kochan at the dinner table.'                                                                              
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Pablo Schyfter, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, available online, 09 Apr 2019 

Half an original interpretation of Heidegger's early work and half an attempt to buttress the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) with a more philosophically rigorous grounding, Science as Social Existence will be of interest not only to Heidegger scholars but to anyone engaged in science and technology studies [...]. This is an informative and original book. Kochan should be praised for his clear, pleasant-to-read prose.

M. Butler, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for CHOICE

I cannot in the space of this review do justice to the richness and range of Kochan's discussion [...]. There is a great deal in this foundational portion of Kochan's discussion that I find tremendously interesting and engaging [...].
 — David R. Cerbone, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, available online 16 Nov 2018 
Jeff Kochan’s book offers both an original reading of Martin Heidegger’s early writings on science and a powerful defense of the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) research program. Science as Social Existence weaves together a compelling argument for the thesis that SSK and Heidegger’s existential phenomenology should be thought of as mutually supporting research programs.

 — Julian Kiverstein, ISIS, Volume 110, Number 4, available online December 2019

Comme nous avons tenté de le montrer, le livre de Kochan constitue une contribution importante pour ce qui est de la compréhension des relations possibles et de la pertinence de perspectives théoriques influentes mais apparemment éloignées comme la philosophie existentielle de Heidegger et la SSK. Grâce à une analyse précise et informée des arguments développés par chacune de ces deux perspectives, l’auteur montre que nombre de critiques récurrentes dont elles font l’objet individuellement apparaissent comme infondées et comme le résultat de malentendus. Dans leur rapprochement se jouerait donc la possibilité, pour ces perspectives, de renforcer leur cohérence, leur pertinence et leur influence dans le contexte théorique actuel. De manière générale, au-delà des avancées conceptuelles associées à chacune de ces perspectives, le livre de Kochan tente de mettre en lumière la pertinence épistémique et ontologique que revêt une conception phénoménologique de la science comprise, à partir des contributions de la SSK, comme une activité existentielle sociale. Cette conception existentielle sociale peut se révéler être une alternative intéressante pour comprendre les problèmes théoriques relatifs au rôle joué par la subjectivité dans la connaissance scientifique.
Juan-Carlos Moreno, Revue d'anthropologie des connaissances, vol. 4 2018

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.

Science as Social Existence: Heidegger and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
Jeff Kochan | December 2017
444 | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783744107
ISBN Hardback: 9781783744114
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783744121
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783744138
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783744145
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783744404
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0129
BIC: PDX (History of Science); BISAC: PHI018000 (PHILOSOPHY / Movements / Phenomenology), SCI075000 (SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects), SOC026040 (SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Social Theory), PHI046000 (PHILOSOPHY / Individual Philosophers); OCLC Number: 1188714624.

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Chapter One
The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Phenomenology,and the Problem of the External World
1. Introduction
2. Scepticism and SSK
3. SSK and External-World Realism
4. Phenomenology and the ‘Natural Attitude’
5. The Phenomenology of Subjectivity in Heidegger’s Being and Time
6. Heidegger’s Response to External-World Scepticism
7. A Heideggerian Critique of SSK’s Response to External-World Scepticism
8. Conclusion

Chapter Two
A Minimal Realism for Science Studies
1. Introduction
2. Heidegger’s Existential Conception of Science
3. Getting at the Real
4. A Phenomenological Reformulation of SSK’s Residual Realism
5. Rouse on Heidegger and Realism
6. Minimal Realism and Scientific Practice
7. Conclusion

Chapter Three
Finitude, Humility, and the Bloor-Latour Debate
1. Introduction
2. Kantian Humility and the Thing-in-Itself
3. Latour’s Attack on Social Constructivism
4. Bloor’s Defence of Social Constructivism
5. Where the Dust Settles in the Debate
6. Heidegger and the Thing-in-Itself
7. Putting the Bloor-Latour Debate to Rest
8. The Humility of Science Studies
9. Conclusion

Chapter Four
Things, Thinking, and the Social Foundations of Logic
1. Introduction
2. Heidegger on the Unity of Things and Thinking
3. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Plato
4. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Aristotle
5. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Descartes
6. Heidegger’s Phenomenological History of Logic: Kant
7. ‘The Argument Lives and Feeds on Something’
8. Time and Tradition at the Existential Root of Logic
9. From the Phenomenology of Thinking to the Sociology of Knowledge
10. The Social Foundations of Logic
11. Conclusion

Chapter Five
Mathēsis and the Emergence of Early-Modern Science
1. Introduction
2. Modern Science as Mathēsis
3. Renaissance Regressus and the Logic of Discovery
4. From Renaissance Regressus to Early-Modern Mathēsis
5. Mathematics and Metaphysics at the Cusp of the Early-Modern Period
6. Nature, Art, and Final Causes in Early-Modern Natural Philosophy
7. Conclusion

Chapter Six
Mathematics, Experiment, and the Ends of Scientific Practice
1. Introduction
2. The Galilean First Thing and the Aims of Experiment
3. Releasing Experimental Things
4. Boyle versus Line: A Study in Experimental Fact-Making
5. Social Imagery and Early-Modern Science
6. Conclusion

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


Jeff Kochan
has a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and has lectured at the Universities of Alberta and Freiburg. He is currently an Associated Fellow at the interdisciplinary Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz.