Sociology And Philosophy
I was thinking about the lecture on anomalies and came to the conclusion that it is important to keep separate the sociology of science and the philosophy of science.

That scientists tend to ignore anomalies and do not adjust theory or experiments to try and remedy anomalies is a sociological observation about the behavior of humans. That is, it is a description of how some DO behave. Whereas philosophy, in so far as it tries to reach the truth, should give us a description of how scientist SHOULD behave.

The easiest path may be to ignore anomalies but to be intellectually honest one should adjust their theory to ameliorate any anomaly.

These thoughts were prompted by reading A.J. Ayer's "Lanuage, Truth and Logic". The following quote particularly struck me as it clashed so directly with Jason's lecture:


"We do not disregard inconvenient observations. Their occurrence always causes us to make some alteration in our system of hypotheses in spite of our desire to keep it intact."*

You can align what Jason and Ayer say if you take Ayer's statement as philosophical and Jason's as sociological.

Jake Stone
(U5128350)


*A.J Ayer "lanuage Truth and Logic" p 128




Thanks for being irenic, but I don't want to be aligned with Ayer that easily!

One of the points I made is that we generate anomalies much much faster than we could possibly investigate them. Note my use of the word "possibly" there! Ayer is wrong because (among other reasons) what he says we do isn't possible.

I agree that sociology doesn't tell us directly what we should do. Good point. I'm very critical of the way lots of people do lots of things, including the ways scientists do lots of things. One of the things sociology is good for, though, is helping us work out what the options are. And even that, I agree, is not something you can infer directly from what people do. But what people do is very helpful in thinking about what they CAN do. Which is, often, not much.

I also think sociology is interesting for its own sake, but you didn't deny that. :-)

Jason