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Steven Shapin. The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation

Cournoyea, Michael (2010) Steven Shapin. The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 4 (1). pp. 273-275. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

In The Scientific Life, Steven Shapin argues that people and their virtues matter in late modern science. While scientists struggle to remain objective and impersonal, it is the personal, familiar, and charismatic—the traits once swept aside as vices by the scientifically virtuous—that have come to embody the “truth-speakers” of late modernity. With an enormous and sometimes daunting wealth of primary sources (from technical commentaries to his own sociological fieldwork), Steven Shapin breathes life back into these quotidian virtues. The Scientific Life is as much a disjointed genealogy of scientific virtue as a reminder that trust still matters at the cutting-edge of scientific “future-making.” Shapin’s mastery of historical narrative is clear; anyone interested in the American scientific persona and how it has transformed in the twentieth century would do well to wade patiently through this thick and rewarding text. But hang up your expectations of historical linearity (and, sometimes, thematic coherence) as you weave through motley professionals, theorists, and critics drawn from over a century of science commentators. Perhaps this work is best described as textured: rich in detail, woven intricately, but hardly smooth to the touch.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Cournoyea, Michael
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2021 03:10
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2021 03:10
Item ID: 17920
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v4i1.13860
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 30 August 2010
Page Range: pp. 273-275
Volume: 4
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17920

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