[The Mangle of Practice Time Agency and Science] EBOOK NEW
Provides an interesting theoretical bridge between physics and social science Beautiful thoughtful exploration of scientific epistemology based on case studies In particular the uestion of where scientific models and concepts come from presenting a challenge both to a the scientific orthodoxy that imagines an underlying stable physical reality to which scientific models hue ever closely through the scientific process and b the critiue coming from the sociology of science that scientific theories merely reflect the social context in which they are created and that they are designed to serve Pickering argues that science is a kind of a partner dance between the physical world and the community of scientists in which both exert influence on the outcome through a process of tuningadjustingdialectic of resistance and accommodation until the scientific and social objectives of the endeavor are met and this outcome is not determined ahead of time either by the physical world challenging the scientific orthodoxy or by the social world challenging the sociological view
#But Emerges Through The Dance #emerges through the dance To me the most useful idea has been the way this calls attention to the simultaneous creative freedom and constraint by physicality of the scientist you are free to do whatever experiment create whatever conceptual model etc that you want but the world usually won t cooperate Just a tiny few of the vast array of possible paths you take will work This everyday truth is somehow clarifying beyond its due in a lot of areas of theory about how the world works See for example the way Spatz uses it in What a Body Can Do to shed light on the problem of agency with regard to gender in leftist social theoryI found Pickering s basic epistemological argument chapters 1 2 about the structure of scientific thought convincing When he applied it to math in chapter 4 as a mathematician I felt that he didn t press his theory fully perhaps he was worried about being called a nutty theorist Throughout he draws on continental theory particularly Latour and Actor Network Theory but he is at pains to make sure you understand that he is saying down to earth clear concrete things that you can pin down ie that you don t mistake him for one of those intentionally obtuse French dudes The uestion at stake is when the science in uestion is mathematics who is the scientist s partner in the dance "When The Subject Was Physics You Could Say The Physical "the subject was physics you could say the physical but with math you can t say that Pickering tries to give an account in which the partner is somehow the discipline of mathematics itself but I thought this was weak His whole point is that the scientist is facing an external agent The discipline is insufficiently external I found an email I wrote a friend where I elaborate on all this so I m including it below slightly edited in a PSNB I read chapters 1 2 and 4 I am curious about the later chapters but got what I needed and suspect that I am going to find Pickering s view in the later chapters less useful to mePS Here s that email Forgive the lack of capitalization The Hamilton referred to is William Rowan Hamilton the inventor of uaternions which invention is the subject of chapter 4i read ch 1 and 2 of pickering and started on ch 4 i decided i will read the rest of ch 4 and after that put the book down for now basically i find his main argument convincing regarding how scientific practice happens dialectic of resistance and accommodation interactive stabilization both human and material agency emergent in time etc i am not going to get to the part where he engages "the metaphysics in particular i m curious about what he has to say about the problematic of "metaphysics in particular i m curious about what he has to say about the problematic of which somewhere in ch 1 he beautifully characterized as the nature of the purchase our knowledge has on the world and vice versa where i feel like there will be room for his solutions not to This ambitious book by one of the most original and provocative thinkers in science studies offers a sophisticated new understanding of the nature of scientific mathematical and engineering practice and the production of scientific knowledgeAndrew Pickering offers a new approach to the unpredictable nature of change in science taking into account the extraordinary number of factors social technological conceptual and natural that interact to affect the creation of scientific knowledge In ,
Andrew Pickering ☆ 6 FREE READ,
Onal idiom in which science is thought to #be the activity of representing or creating a map of nature Instead Pickering wants to concern himself with # the activity of representing or creating a map of nature Instead Pickering wants to concern himself with performative image of science in which science is regarded as a field of powers capacities and performances 7 For Pickering ignoring the doing of science is to completely miss the point of understanding the construction of scientific knowledge in the first place First Pickering goes after SSK s obsession with human agency see my review of Bloor for on this model Many SSK accounts posit that human interests drive the construction of scientific knowledge and argue that any seeming material or technological agency can be reduced to some sort of human agency This allows them to avoid Bloor s original concerns about the history of science getting reduced to a history of error if we can tell the story via natural agency alone historians aren t needed or relevant it s ust a matter of figuring out the ways that nature is speaking Pickering borrowing Bloor s terminology for something entirely different rather confusing the issue I might say called this approach asymmetrical with respect to agency In this model rather his caricature of the model there is no room for natureOn the other hand ANT advocates symmetry between human and nonhuman agents Both according to writers like Latour work in concert to enroll other agents into agreement with experiments and models However Pickering points out what should really have been obvious to all of us human and nonhuman agents ust aren t the same unless you reduce both of them to semiotic constructs In practice humans have intentions and goals while nonhuman agents do not For Pickering The world of intentionality is then constitutively engaged with the world of material agency 20 It is of particular "Importance To Pickering That Modeling Happens Dynamically "to Pickering that modeling happens dynamically and in time which means that the intentions and goals of scientists are conditioned by scientific cultures as the same time that scientists respond to captured material agency Pickering develops some flowery metaphors about the dance of agency in which a scientists encounters resistances from the material world then seeks to accommodate models based on those findings So what is the mangle It is the goal oriented and goal revising dialectic of resistance and accommodation that reflects the emergently intertwined delineation and reconfiguration of machinic captures and human intentions practices and so on 23 This very helpful model leads Pickering to his position called pragmatic realism This type of realism would support an indefinitely diverse set of ontologies and suggests that scientific knowledge is both objective and relative 32 This last part is bound to raise hackles and cause debate as it should especially from the straight up realists really who even cares about positivism as a serious position these days I m actually a fan of this result as it honors the supremely contingent nature of the construction of scientific knowledge Pickering is careful to reject any synchronic or static definition of constraints which is how people usually try to argue that the possible ontologies simply can t be infinite Pickering rejects this way of thinking about constraints as pre udging the issue and once again taking scientific analysis out of time Pickering wants everything in time And in time constraints are practical not theoretical he invents the term machinic incommensurability here Kuhn referenceThis book cleared up a lot for me and in general I have to say that I agree with it It s been pointed out to me by many that the usefulness of Pickering s theoretical positions for the actual practice of history are far less clear as is exemplified by his application sections and subseuent books but as a contribution to theory in science studies this book is one of the contemporary great. Fic work both past and present Pickering examines in detail the building of the bubble chamber in particle physics the search for the uark the construction of the uarternion system in mathematics and the introduction of computer controlled machine tools in industry He uses these examples to address the most basic elements of scientific practice the development of experimental apparatus the production of facts the development of theory and the interrelation of machines and social organizati. Otally match my sensibilities but *There Is One Significant Thing *is one significant thing happened in ch 4 where i see it differently from himthe uestion is what is the substrate that the mathematician engages in the dialectic of resistance and accommodation pickering s answer is the discipline as in disciplinary agency vs the material agency that happens when the physicists engage a material substrate when he first used the phrase disciplinary agency i was excited because he wants to draw a parallel between "the mathematician s work and the physicist s engagement with something "mathematician s work and the physicist s engagement with something obviously external and extrinsic to her control as the physical world however when he actually elaborates what disciplinary agency is made of to me it felt way too thin both to capture my own experience but even really to support his own case once this happened i realized that the word disciplinary agency is wrong anyway the discipline is not the partner in the dance of resistance and accommodation because it is not external and extrinsic to the scientist s control in the way that the material world is math has an eually extrinsic partnerthe substrate of mathematics is not the discipline itself the discipline is a set of tools to probe a substrate external to it it is the same for all disciplines materiality is the wrong name for this substrate because math is not material mathematicianeducator paul lockhart calls it mathematical reality he wrote something like that s the thing about mathematical reality when we push on it it pushes back but to me this is too narrow because it separates it artificially from all the other substrates it is connected to such as the physical world to me the actual substrate is reality when lockhart says mathematical reality all he means is that part of reality that we tend to perceive when we use the tools of the discipline of mathematics to probe iti feel like i sorta know why pickering made this mistake he s already sort of out on a limb with his talk of material agency it s grouping him with the ANT people who sometimes resort to everything is signs nothingness a propos of our earlier conversation about continental theorists and whether or not you re willing to stand behind your theory he s at pains to make sure nobody thinks he s talking about ghosts eg he s like look material agency #For Sure But I M # sure but i m talking about material intentionality are you crazy so it would be scary to him and open up too much vulnerability to try to impute the kind of substantiveness that is even capable of exerting agency on a mathematician to a reality that can t be located anywhere in the physical worldthe problem is that without this he s talking in circles a little bit on pp 142 143 he notes the centrality to his case of the idea that hamilton s transcriptions were forced moves which hamilton didn t have control over but he then immediately notes that hamilton exerted some discretion over which of the established conventions of disciplinary practice he was going to obey and which he was going to tweak i am all for the idea that the discipline itself is emergent in time and i think that s really right but i feel that pickering has contradicted himself here if hamilton is able to select which established disciplinary practices he s going to consider himself beholden to then it is not these disciplinary practices that force his hand he doesn t have to accommodate them so pickering has failed to locate hamilton s partner in the dance of resistance and accommodation the refusal to talk about reality apart from either material reality or the discipline itself has rendered the mathematician s actual dance partner invisible Pickering s groundbreaking book seems to me to have cleared up many theoretical issues left behind by both SSK Sociology of Scientific Knowledge and ANT Actor Network Theory Pickering like Hacking starts by rejecting the representati. Is view machines instruments facts theories conceptual and mathematical structures disciplined practices and human beings are in constantly shifting relationships with one another mangled together in unforeseeable ways that are shaped by the contingencies of culture time and place Situating material as well as human agency in their larger cultural context Pickering uses case studies to show how this picture of the open changeable nature of science advances a richer understanding of scienti.