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Social History of Truth Civility and Science in Seventeenth-Century England

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ISBN-10: 0226750191

ISBN-13: 9780226750194

Edition: 1995

Authors: Steven Shapin

List price: $41.00
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How do we come to trust our knowledge of the world? What are the means by which we distinguish true from false accounts? Why do we credit one observational statement over another? In A Social History of Truth, Shapin engages these universal questions through an elegant recreation of a crucial period in the history of early modern science: the social world of gentlemen-philosophers in seventeenth-century England. Steven Shapin paints a vivid picture of the relations between gentlemanly culture and scientific practice. He argues that problems of credibility in science were practically solved through the codes and conventions of genteel conduct: trust, civility, honor, and integrity. These codes formed, and arguably still form, an important basis for securing reliable knowledge about the natural world. Shapin uses detailed historical narrative to argue about the establishment of factual knowledge both in science and in everyday practice. Accounts of the mores and manners of gentlemen-philosophers are used to illustrate Shapin's broad claim that trust is imperative for constituting every kind of knowledge. Knowledge-making is always a collective enterprise: people have to know whom to trust in order to know something about the natural world.
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Book details

List price: $41.00
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 11/15/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 512
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.892
Language: English

List of Illustrations
Notes on Genres, Disciplines, and Conventions The Argument Summarized
The Great Civility: Trust, Truth, and Moral Order
"Who Was Then a Gentleman?" Integrity and Gentle Identity in Early Modern England
A Social History of Truth-Telling: Knowledge, Social Practice, and the Credibility of Gentlemen
Who Was Robert Boyle? The Creation and Presentation of an Experimental Identity
Epistemological Decorum: The Practical Management of Factual Testimony 193
Knowing about People and Knowing about Things: A Moral History of Scientific Credibility
Certainty and Civility: Mathematics and Boyle's Experimental Conversation
Invisible Technicians: Masters, Servants, and the Making of Experimental Knowledge Epilogue: The Way We Live Now