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Edinburgh School of Sociology of Knowledge

The “Strong Programme” in the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) emerged in the early 1970s at the Edinburgh University Science Studies Unit with the work of Barry Barnes (1974) and David Bloor (1976) and was conceived as a radical challenge to the traditional conceptions of science found in both philosophy and sociology; it also has implications for science education (see Slezak, 1994a, 1994c).

The SSK undermines the traditional philosophical, epistemological enterprise and also the pursuit of science itself. If knowledge is the product of historically contingent, “external” factors in the local social context rather than “internal” considerations of evidence and reason, then it is an illusion to imagine that education might serve to instill a capacity for critical thought and rational belief. Instead of fostering ...

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