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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 49, Issue 3, 2016

Alexander Ruser
Pages 55-69
DOI: 10.5840/eps201649351

Towards the Unity of Science Again?
Reductionist Thinking and it's Consequence for a Social Philosophy of Science

At first glance the Idea of the “Unity of Science" seems to be of interest for historians of science only. However, given the expectations especially social scientists face today, to provide simple answers and feasible solutions to pressing social problems a revival of the idea is not unlikely. In particular “reductionist" ideas, aiming to adopt theoretical and methodological insight from the natural sciences thrive. This puts not only the project but also the very idea of a social philosophy of science in jeopardy. For, in consequence two of its main pillars, (1) considering the social and historic circumstance of knowledge production and (2) the need for developing a philosophy of the social sciences are equally rendered irrelevant. This contribution focuses on the fundamental flaws and shortcomings of such reductionist models, argues in favor of the disunity of science and thus defends the idea of a social philosophy of science.

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