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History, Philosophy and Sociology of Science

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Bayesian Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics: Everything New Is Actually Well-Forgotten Old … [14 Oct 2010|04:06pm]

Some 80-90 years ago, an unknown Californian guy named George A. Linhart, unlike A. Einstein, P. Debye, M. Planck and W. Nernst, has managed to derive a very simple, but ultimately general mathematical formula for heat capacity vs. temperature from the fundamental thermodynamical principles, using what we would nowadays dub a “Bayesian approach to probability”. Moreover, he has successfully applied his result to fit the experimental data for diverse substances in their solid state in a rather broad temperature range. Nevertheless, Linhart’s work was undeservedly forgotten, although it does represent a valid and fresh standpoint on thermodynamics and statistical physics, which may have a significant implication for academic and applied science.

Interested ? The details are here:

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re-search [27 Jan 2010|11:15am]

(in case of the community is still alive)))

I guess it is a typical student's question:

in my research I discover that the bigger part of it is the serach inside the search options. I work in humanities, and before the research method and scope are defined, it is a hell of options and suggestions for the search modification.


A theoretical: Are there any definitions for this exponentation of information (understandable with no professional mathematician's apparatus)? Popular theories, related surnames?

B practical: any "tricks of the trade" in saving some time from being wasted for the secondary searches?
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How To Think About Science Lectures [13 Mar 2008|08:11pm]

[ mood | contemplative ]


Just been introduced to these podcasts of lectures/interviews with a number of high profile historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science and technology (plus assorted others).

Hope you enjoy!!!


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Observation and Experience: A Return to the Churchland/Fodor debate [11 Feb 2008|11:54am]

So I'm revisiting Barnes, Bloor and Henry "Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis" particularly the first few chapters on observation and classification before writing a chapter of my thesis on injury interpretation. Anyway, I'm interested in the sensory aspect of observation, the actual sensory experience of observing a phenomena divorced from an observation statement which is, I'm sure we all agree, theory-laden. My question is, is there anything that the sociologist, historian or any other analyst can actually say about the moment of observation? How does one get access to that kind of data? I understand that BBH wished to examine that point as it enables them to present themselves as realists as opposed to post-modernists, but can we actually make these sorts of claims. As BBH rightly suggest the reporting of an observation (with its inherent interpretation) will impinge upon all later discussions of the moment of observation, so how can we actually get the experiential part of observation? To put it another way, using Hanson's example of Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler looking at a sun-rise, okay, they may view the Universe differently and therefore understand what they are seeing differently but they see the same thing, experientially they view the sun rise in the same way, but what does that buy-us as analysts, they still go off and report the phenomena in different ways.

I suppose what I'm trying to get at here is the question of why should we focus on the moment of observation?

Hope you can make some sense of this blather, any comments or help would be much appreciated.
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CFP: From Crime Prevention to Securing Convictions: Terrains in Legal Expertise. [05 Feb 2008|05:48pm]

Wow, I didn't know that this community had grown so much - as you can see I'm a very good maintainer.

Anyway, apologies for such short notice but this is a notice for a Call For Papers for a session at the forthcoming 4S/EASST conference in Rotterdam in August. The CfP states this coming Friday but if you are interested in submitting an abstract get in touch before Friday and we can come to some arrangement about when you can get an abstract to me.

Call For Papers for proposed panel at EASST/4S Meeting in Rotterdam, August 20 - 23, 2008(http://www.easst.net/node/1599 and https://4sonline.org/meeting.htm)Collapse )
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demedicalization? [05 Feb 2008|10:59am]

I am taking a course on sociology of illness and health and am having trouble with de/medicalization. if something is de-medicalized can it still be an illness? Are there any benefits to the person whose illness has been de-medicalized? Depression? ADD? eating disorders?
or would they just fall to the wayside and told their is nothing wrong with them and to suck it up? my prof is not very helpful, very standoffish.
Does anyone have any websites you can suggest on the pros and cons.

thank you,
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[24 May 2007|03:55pm]


Anybody else planning to attend the Society for the Social Studies of Science Conference http://www.4sonline.org/meeting.htm and know where cheap student accommadation is?

Thanks in advance.
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CFP - ipod and philosophy [17 May 2007|09:59am]


This has nothing to do with me, I saw it elsewhere and thought it might be of interest to any SCOT people in the group. 

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Science and the Public conference - London, May 19th [27 Apr 2007|11:24am]


Anyone who is anyone in science studies (and can get to London for a day and er, isn't going to be watching the FA cup) is coming to the this conference. Imperial College, London 19th May.

This interdisciplinary conference brings together the diverse strands of academia that consider science as it intersects with non-scientific cultures, in both contemporary and historical settings. Curious about scientists in the cinema? Intersex, and the internet? Deficits, decisions, differences? Politics, politicians, 'Public Engagement'? Medicine, medicalisation, monsters? 

Science studies gets out of the lab and at its most exciting.

Overview of programme below (under the cut) full one for dowload here (warning, links to PDF), or email scienceandpublic@gmail.com. £15 for students/ unwaged (£25 for others).

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Questions to the community [26 Apr 2007|03:08pm]

Hello Comrades,
I see that this community has fallen into disuse, so I thought I would throw out some questions hopefully to provoke some conversation, thought, and maybe some community-building.

I'm currently in a History of Science class, "African Science: Science in Africa at Sarah Lawrence college, and it's been an amazing study of the field of history of science. There are so few programs that specialize in the study, so I count myself very lucky to be in one of the few. I was wondering if others have been in other History of Science courses, what they were and what the syllabus was like. The syllabus for my class can be seen online here: http://pages.slc.edu/~mdillard/index.php?course=doctors for those interested. Right now, I'm doing conference work on the history of precolonial African public health, and it's been really illuminating.

What are your favorite books regarding the history of science? Which books do you think get it toally wrong? Which topics are you most interested in studying? I am also very interested in the history of 'pseudosciences', ethnopsychiatry, and the African brain drain.

I'm going to be starting a news blog in the next few weeks to track public health, medical anthropology, and historically-significant, sociologically-significant science articles. I'd be glad to have more contributors and submissions. It's all in a very early planning stage right now. I think it's important to have a centralized news source for these interrelated disciplines to help push people towards finding the connections between politics, health, science, environment and culture.

I don't mean to be so overty enthusiastic, but I am hoping that this community will become more active and you'll discuss what you're interested in, what you're studying, and what brings you here.
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CFP: science and "the public" [08 Jan 2007|11:44pm]

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sense about science [04 Jan 2007|12:22pm]

Has anyone seen the sense about science leaflet on "science for celebrities". I think they are taking the mickey, but it's hard to tell with that group. Plus I still don't know quite what they aim to achieve, other than showing the world how incredibly patronising some scientists can be.

I cannot believe these people get the news time they do. N.B by "these people" I mean SaS, I don't mean the "celebs" they are correcting.
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N.I.Pirogov [15 Nov 2006|10:06pm]

Good evening!
N.I.Pirogov is a very famous (in Russia) surgeon. I've wrote a small article about him in Russian. Just an hour ago I translated it in English. Would you be so kind to check it (I mean my English - grammar and vocabulary, I mean). Thanks a lot, I wait for your comments in MY levijournal. The address of my article in English is http://yartsew.livejournal.com/5313.html
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Conflicting studies [15 Nov 2006|09:30am]

Today's post to The Difference Blog looks at two studies reported this fall about survival rates between men and women with heart failure. Duke University researchers reported yesterday that women had higher survival rates, while a Norwegian study published in September reported that men did. Both studies used high-risk populations as their subjects. Any comments on how these studies could have reached their conflicting conclusions are welcomed.

differenceblog is a daily feature on the study of gender differences.
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Royal Society [14 Sep 2006|04:19pm]

The Royal Society are opening their archives for free for two months only (found from the Register.


Given that their archives go back to the 17th century, this should be good for anyone who's into the history of science.
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children's science media blog [30 Aug 2006|02:46pm]

new blog on children and science and the media

interdisciplinary and still finding it's feet, but do comment/ keep an eye on it if you've an interest.
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[01 Aug 2006|11:31pm]

I've been thinking about the concept of revolutions within cultural ideas of change. projections of the future, etc.

Anyway, I just thought... Kuhnian revolutions and Oedipus. Kinda similar. No?

(note, in a loose sense, I look at scientists/ popular science's applications of Kuhn, not tightly argued technicalities of philosphy of science)

Its the sort of thing Haraway would have said, but if she did I didn't notice it.
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for PUS-ers out there [26 Jul 2006|04:35pm]

I have often heard Brian Wynne credited for coining the term "deficit model" but never seen a specific reference. Was it him? If so anyone know where (and saying "that book with the radioactive sheep" won't do)
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Fugue States [20 Apr 2006|07:25pm]

Anyone know any good recent non-medically oriented literature on these (in addition to Ian Hacking's 'Mad Travelers'?
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Disease Mongering [12 Apr 2006|12:15pm]

PLoS has a good collection of articles on Disease Mongering that I've just come across - in case anyone here is interested :)

Particularly interesting for me is the article on teachers and AD/HD. I've found it nigh on impossible to find information for parents and teachers that is not in some way sponsored by drug companies. This is not intended as a Big Pharma rant - I do know of kids who have benefitted a lot from medication. But I've also met teachers who want to medicate any child with the vaguest hint of attention problems.
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