Middlebury

 

“Social constructivism and the aims of science.”

Kareem Khalifa, Philosophy Department

In this essay, I provide normative guidelines for developing a philosophically interesting and plausible version of social constructivism as a philosophy of science, wherein science aims for social-epistemic values rather than for truth or empirical adequacy. This view is more plausible than the more radical constructivist claim that scientific facts are constructed. It is also more interesting than the modest constructivist claim that representations of such facts emerge in social contexts, as it provides a genuine rival to the scientific axiologies of scientific realists and constructive empiricists. I further contrast my view with positions holding that the aims of science are context-dependent, that the unit of normative analysis is the scientific community, and that the aims of science are non-epistemic social values.