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Record Type: Review   ID: 563

Changing Order: Replication and Induction in Scientific Practice

Collins, H.M.

This book about science views order and knowledge as two sides of the same coin: changing knowledge is changing order. It takes scientific knowledge itself as a case study and views science as a cultural activity rather than as a repository of certain knowledge.

The first chapter shows how "our concepts and our social conventions reinforce each other—as in a network—and this explains the maintenance of order" (p. 2). Chapter 2 deals with the ordering principle of science—the repeatability of experiments and observations. The next 3 chapters report field studies in which scientists attempt to repeat the work of others: laser building, the detection of gravitational radiation, and two areas of parapsychology: so-called plant psi and mind-over-matter (PK). Collins points out that "the parapsychology and gravity wave debates . . . look very like each other in terms of the structure of argument which surrounds the claims 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 marks 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).

Publisher Information:London: SAGE Publications, 1985. 187p. Bibliography: 175-181; Name Index: 183-184; Subject Index: 185-187
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