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Anthropology, Sociology, and Parapsychology
Record Type: Review   ID: 1027

Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice

Collins, H.M.

 Collins, a British sociologist, views parapsychology in the larger picture provided by the history, philosophy, and sociology of science. In connection with the repeatability of scientific findings, three cases from varied fields are studied and compared: laser building, the detection of gravitational radiation, and two areas of parapsychology: so-called plant psi and mind-over-matter (PK). He points out that "the parapsychology and the gravity wave debates...look very like each other in terms of the structure of argument which surrounds the claim of replicability; and they both look quite unlike the TEA-laser case. Thus … it is the TEA-laser that is the odd one out! This makes a difference between the perspective of this work and more orthodox ways of looking at science. The important dimension turns out not to be the scientific subject matter but the phase of science that is represented" (p. 4). He is concerned with how change occurs in science and how conceptual order is brought about. Through the cases examined he shows how individuals create the potential for change, how other individuals can help or hinder this process, how these efforts are embedded in the wider society, how the wider society is the locus of conceptual order, and how facts are made fact-like in spite of their human creators.
Publisher Information:Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1985. 187p. Bibliography: 175-181; 10 figures; 2 graphs; Name index: 183-184; Subject index: 185-187
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