Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. v

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Preface

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pp. vii-xii

The power of science consists, in the first place, in its conflation of knowledge arid truth. Devising a method of proving the validity of propositions about objects taken as external to the knower has become identical with what we mean by truth. Walter Benjamin called attention to this departure in the prologue to his study of the origin of German tragic drama...

Part I

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1. Science and Technology as Hegemony

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pp. 3-34

When my daughter Nona was two years old, she frequently exclaimed, after a fall, "the chair did it," or, as she bumped into the wall, "the wall did it." On September 11, 1986, the New York stock market plunged eighty-six points. The next day, after a drop of thirty four points, a New York Times story read, "wide use of computers contributed to slide." According to the writer, trading on the stock market is often detonated by signals supplied by a...

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2. Marx 1: Science as Social Relations

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pp. 35-59

Orthodox Marxism has often portrayed all ideas within the bourgeois epoch as nothing more than reflexes of the dominant material relationships, that is, all ideas except those embodied in science and technology. To a large extent, Marxism has shared the capitalists' worship of scientific understanding and industrial technique as reified, eternal truths. Whereas...

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3. Marx 2: The Scientific Theory of Society

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pp. 60-88

The consensus of those who have studied the Industrial Revolution — the period of the transformation of the labor process from manufacture to machine production on a wide scale within the capitalist mode of production —has been to attribute this development to the imperatives of the capitalist marketplace, particularly competition. David Landes has paid particular attention to the ability of capital to successfully incorporate science...

Part II

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4. Engels and the Return to Epistemology

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pp. 91-120

For many who want to protect Marxism from a linkage with mechanistic thought, the slogan "back to Marx" intends to show the discontinuity between his thought and those of his immediate followers. The title of one writer's effort in this direction is Engels Contra Marx. Indeed, the project is already present as early as Lukacs's History and Class Consciousness: To be clear about the function of theory is also to understand its own basis, i.e...

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5. The Frankfurt School: Science and Technology as Ideology

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pp. 121-145

Despite the political gulf that separated socialists after the Bolshevik Revolution, the leading tendency within Marxism concerning science and technology was deeply influenced by the position of Engels as articulated by Plekhanov and Lenin. Even those anti-Leninists like Kautsky adhered to a relatively uncritical view of science and technology, critical only of the uses to which they were put by capital. However, the preponderance...

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6. Habermas: The Retreat from the Critique

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pp. 146-168

The distinction between science and ideology, indeed, the concept of ideology as such, depends on a conception of science as a self-critical, self-correcting inquiry. The received wisdom of Western thought is that science is constituted by value-free knowledge of the external world. In this conception, the scientist, in Max Weber's invocation, understands that he/she approaches nature and society as objects of investigation unburdened...

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7. Marxism as a Positive Science

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pp. 169-200

The virtue of Habermas's work is to remind us of the indissolubility of the Marxist framework. It is not possible to dissociate the theory of ideology from classes and class struggle, any more than science and technology can be regarded as either historically or logically independent of social relations. But that is exactly what Louis Althusser and his school have attempted to do.1 Their assertion that Marxism is a science is specifically...

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8. Soviet Science: The Scientific and Technological Revolution

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pp. 201-236

From its inception, the Soviet Union has harbored an enormous conflict that refuses to disappear. Even in the time of Lenin (1917-24), a period of incessant debate and plurality of ideologies and policies, not only between the Bolsheviks and their critics, but also within their own ranks, the social structure was rent. Lenin and his colleagues insisted that the transition from a "backward, semi-feudal" capitalism, enclosed in a decrepit...

Part III

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9. The Breakup of Certainty: History and Philosophy of Modern Physics

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pp. 239-271

In this chapter, I wish to examine Anglo-American theories of science, in their philosophical and historical modes. Contrary to some interpretations, I claim that while they hold tenaciously to a logical empiricist and positivist ideology (in which science is defined as the concatenation of empirical and a priori mathematical knowledge whose determining moment...

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10. The Science of Sociology and the Sociology of Science

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pp. 272-300

Earlier in this book, I introduced a concept of episteme as a way of seeing that is specific to a historical period but that is, at the same time, discontinuous in time and space. When explicating the intellectual and cultural influences in the development of quantum mechanics in the 1920s, we saw that what might be called a modernist discourse permeates parts of western and central Europe from the middle of the nineteenth century into...

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11. Scientisrn or Critical Science: The Debates in Biology

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pp. 301-316

The effort to construct a unified field theory among the sciences ultimately rests on the validity of the reduction of "life itself" and its forms to physical and chemical categories. This effort has remained a cultural ideal, not only for the physical sciences but also for biology and the social sciences. As we saw in the preceding chapter, social sciences have adopted at least three major stances with respect to reductionism. One powerful...

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12. Toward a New Social Theory of Science

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pp. 317-354

It remains for me to show how science is social relations. For even if Marcuse has already argued for the ineluctability of the relation between science, technology, and social domination, he has not provided a systematic, detailed explanation of the way in which, by virtue of its own concepts and methods, scientific practice promotes a universe in which domination of nature is linked to the domination of humans, or the...

Notes

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pp. 355-376

Index

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pp. 377-384

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About the Author

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pp. 385-385

Stanley Aromowitz is professor of sociology in the graduate school of the City...