Author Information: Carl Martin Allwood, University of Gothenburg, cma@psy.gu.se

Allwood, Carl Martin. “Culture, Language, Identity and the Properties of a Useful Culture Concept for the Indigenous Psychologies.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 30-33.

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Abstract

Cultures are expressed in language and the mapping relation between language and culture is argued to be one-to-many. Accordingly, a language such as Spanish can be used to express many different cultures, including contents that are in explicit contradiction. By attending to the diversity in understanding in a society social interventions can be better tailored to specific groups of people in that society. Thus, a culture concept that emphasizes the diversity in the understanding of people in the indigenous psychology (IP) researcher’s society is likely to be helpful for social interventions in different groups of that society. This, in contrast to a culture concept that focuses mostly on whatever understanding is shared and inherited from previous generations in the society. I also argue that it should be recognized that members of a culture have different conceptions of their culture’s identity and that these conceptions are changing as they are constructed over time.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, University of Warwick, S.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk

Fuller, Steve. “Science Without Expertise: Defending My Defence of Intelligent Design (Nearly) a Decade Later.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 22-29.

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Introduction

Since early 2005, when I was first recruited to act as an ‘expert witness’ for the defence in what became the landmark US case on intelligent design, Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, my career has taken some curious but always interesting turns, most recently a plenary session at the 2014 European Society for the Philosophy of Religion conference, during which I declared an abiding interest in God as opposed to religion. On several occasions over the past nine years I have responded to my numerous critics, a combination of academics and non-academics, all claiming to know a science when they see it. My omnibus reflection on the academic response was published in 2008 in Spontaneous Generations, the house journal of the University of Toronto’s History & Philosophy of Science and Technology Department. In what follows, I address an article that appears in the September 2014 issue of the French sociology journal, Socio, dedicated to ‘chercheurs à la barre’ (‘researchers at the bar’). My response, largely reproduced below, is also published (in French) in that issue, along with a brief reply by the article’s authors, two young French social historians, Volny Fages and Arnaud Saint-Martin (hereafter ‘the authors’), who entitled their original piece ‘Jouer l’expert à la barre : l’épistémologie sociale de Steve Fuller au service de l’ intelligent design’ (‘Playing the expert at the bar: Steve Fuller’s social epistemology in the service of intelligent design’).  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Stefano Bigliardi, Tec de Monterrey, CSF, Mexico City and CMES, Lund University, stefano.bigliardi@cme.lu.se

Bigliardi, Stefano. “Mehdi Golshani’s Philosophy, Islamic Science(s), and Judeo-Christian/Muslim Dialogue: A Reply to Azadegan.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 16-21.

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In his reply “Islamic Science: A Missed Subject in Bigliardi’s Monograph?” Ebrahim Azadegan (2014), albeit only mentioning in his title one challenge to the definition of “New Generation” in the debate over Islam and science, actually discusses two objections to it and further formulates a critical question. Moreover, his first objection is twofold, i.e. articulated in two different doubts. I shall try to address each of them in detail.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Ebrahim Azadegan, Sharif University of Technology, ebrahimazadegan@gmail.com

Azadegan, Ebrahim. “Islamic Science: A Missed Subject in Bigliardi’s Monograph?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 12-15.

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In a similar way as Leif Stenberg has done in his monograph The Islamization of Science (1996), Stefano Bigliardi produces his recent work titled Islam and the Quest for Modern Science (2014a), including several conversations with some senior Muslim thinkers who have been engaged academically in the debate between science and religion and more specifically the debate between modern science and Islam. Nevertheless, challenging Stenberg, Bigliardi’s work deals with what he calls “New Generation” of academic scientific scholars (Bigliardi 2013). The “New Generation” academics have these five characteristics:  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Jesse Butler, University of Central Arkansas, JButler@uca.edu

Butler, Jesse. “Knowledge and NOW: What Is the Epistemic Standing of the Present Moment?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 5-11.

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The present moment, NOW, is a pretty big deal to us humans. Everything seems to be happening NOW, on the razor edge between history and the future, and without a NOW through which we experience the world, the world itself seems inaccessible, if not altogether incomprehensible. But what is this NOW? Is NOW an objective feature of external reality, a uniquely privileged public moment through which we are in contact with the actual world as it unfolds, or is NOW merely a subjective illusion that we each project onto the world through the egocentric temporal window of our own experience?   Continue Reading…

Author Information: Scott F. Aikin, Vanderbilt University, scott.f.aikin@Vanderbilt.Edu; Thomas Dabay, Vanderbilt University, thomas.dabay@Vanderbilt.Edu

Aikin, Scott F and Thomas Dabay. “A Further Note on Individualism and Contrastivism: Reply to Sawyer.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 10 (2014): 1-4.

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Sawyer’s expanded argument from knowledge contrastivism to conceptual anti-individualism is now much clearer. As we understand her, the key dialectical move is to distinguish between the positive and negative contrast classes, and apply this distinction to cases of contrastive self-knowledge.

All of this comes together in the section titled “On Anti-Individualism,” specifically the third and fourth paragraphs of that section (2014b, 4) . According to Sawyer, the preconditions for the possibility of contrastive self-knowledge are

(i) that the knower, S, possess a concept, C, that occurs in the proposition she knows;
(ii) that there be a set of positively contrasting concepts to C; and
(iii) that there be a set of negatively contrasting concepts to C.

Sawyer contends that this final precondition, the existence of a negative contrast class, is impossible on an individualist account of concepts. With this, Sawyer believes she has established the conditional that if self-knowledge is contrastive in nature, then conceptual anti-individualism must be true.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Justin Cruickshank, University of Birmingham, j.cruickshank@bham.ac.uk, Ioana Cerasella Chis, University of Birmingham, icc108@student.bham.ac.uk

Cruickshank, Justin and Ioana Cerasella Chis. “Exit, Voice and Loyalty in the Public Sphere: On the Hollowing Out of Universities and the ‘Trojan Horse’ Attack on the Muslim Community in the UK.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 57-71.

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In his ‘Beyond Lamentations’ Raphael Sassower picked up on the use of the term ‘neo-liberal’ and he offered a nuanced consideration of its definitions. He then moved on to consider the ethical imperative for academics / intellectuals to be publically engaged, despite the risks. Sassower is certainly correct to say that the term neo-liberal needs to be clearly defined. In the discussion below we will offer our definition of neo-liberalism as an elite project that hollows out education and communities; relating this to the questions of why academics are not usually public intellectuals and how the UK Coalition Government demonised a dialogic education offered by some schools in Birmingham with a majority of Muslim pupils.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: S. Kamal Abdali,k.abdali@acm.org

Kamal, Abdali S. “On Bigliardi’s Islam and the Quest for Modern Science.Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 55-56.

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An independent discussion of Bigliardi’s book Islam and the Quest for Modern Science (2014) might be relevant to this debate.

Since the 1930s, an idea has taken root in the Islamic world that Islam is not “just a religion” but is a “system of life” (a system for organizing all individual and collective aspects of human life). This idea goes much further than the elaborate categorization, undertaken mainly during the 8th to 10th century period, of human actions into various categories of permitted and forbidden behavior. The “system of life” practically emphasizes collective behavior and policies. A significant body of literature focuses on Islamic political and economic systems. The work—in the same spirit on developing Islamic principles to guide scientific research—started in the later half of the 20th century. The number of scholars engaged in this work is relatively small. But the work is attracting attention and we can notice serious discussions emerging about how scientific work should be conducted, including the acquisition, interpretation, analysis, and application of scientific knowledge.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Lyudmila A. Markova, Russian Academy of Sciences, markova.lyudmila2013@yandex.ru

Markova, Lyudmila A. “A Brief Reply to Maya Frodeman.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 53-54.

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I would like to consider briefly three points in connection with issues raised by Maya Frodeman.

1. Academics’ approval or disapproval in transforming the knowledge production system in universities does not mean much. Certainly the majority of academics do not want such changes, but the main reason is not that they fear losing their position in the social structure of the university. Rather, a serious difficulty follows in recognizing and taking up new ideas. Many academics believe sincerely that new knowledge policies will destroy science. And they are right if science is considered by politicians, in the same way as by academics, and if the science policy does not take into consideration the changes outlined by Robert Frodeman. Philosophy offers the ability to see the current features of contemporary science that make it fundamentally different compared to classical science (which some scientists and philosophers perceive as the only possible one).  Continue Reading…

Author Information:Alexandra Hofmänner, University of Basel, alexandra.hofmaenner@unibas.ch

Hofmänner, Alexandra. “Response to Anderson and Khandekar.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 9 (2014): 44-52.

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In their reviews, Anderson and Khandekar pronounce a heavy verdict on my paper “Science Studies Elsewhere: The Experimental Life and the Other Within”. They renounce its novelty and intellectual merit. They accuse the paper of disregarding what they consider to be the relevant body of literature, namely postcolonial science studies (PSS, Anderson) or postcolonial studies of technoscience (PST, Khandekar). In their view, this scholarly tradition has already provided the intellectual material that is merely repeated in the paper. The only analytical value they ascribe to the paper is its reproduction of a ‘postcolonial staple’ (Anderson, 2014, 51), its treading of ‘territory familiar to many Science Studies scholars’ (Khandekar, 2014, 9). On the basis of these considerations, they read the paper as an unwarranted critique of scholarship in the fields of PSS and PST.

In this response, I will try to show that Anderson and Khandekar fail to substantiate their judgement. Furthermore, I will argue that their comments exemplify some of the very obstacles the proposed Programme in Science Studies Elsewhere seeks to address. For this purpose, I will discuss the following issues: Anderson and Khandekar’s use of the word ‘Elsewhere’ (1. Research Design); their denial of the paper’s novelty and analytical potential (2. Trouillot’s Notion of Elsewhere: The Geography of Management and the Geography of Imagination); and their insistence on a particular scholarly tradition in Science Studies as conceptual and interpretive reference for the analysis (3. Postcolonial Technoscience).  Continue Reading…