Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory

Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: Published: March 1997

Cultural Studies, Science and Technology Studies > Philosophy of Science, Theory and Philosophy

Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory is a unique collection of essays dealing with the intersections between science and mathematics and the radical reconceptions of knowledge, language, proof, truth, and reality currently emerging from poststructuralist literary theory, constructivist history and sociology of science, and related work in contemporary philosophy. Featuring a distinguished group of international contributors, this volume engages themes and issues central to current theoretical debates in virtually all disciplines: agency, causality, determinacy, representation, and the social dynamics of knowledge.
In a substantive introductory essay, the editors explain the notion of "postclassical theory" and discuss the significance of ideas such as emergence and undecidability in current work in and on science and mathematics. Other essays include a witty examination of the relations among mathematical thinking, writing, and the technologies of virtual reality; an essay that reconstructs the conceptual practices that led to a crucial mathematical discovery—or construction—in the 19th century; a discussion of the implications of Bohr’s complementarity principle for classical ideas of reality; an examination of scientific laboratories as "hybrid" communities of humans and nonhumans; an analysis of metaphors of control, purpose, and necessity in contemporary biology; an exploration of truth and lies, and the play of words and numbers in Shakespeare, Frege, Wittgenstein, and Beckett; and a final chapter on recent engagements, or nonengagements, between rationalist/realist philosophy of science and contemporary science studies.

Contributors. Malcolm Ashmore, Michel Callon, Owen Flanagan, John Law, Susan Oyama, Andrew Pickering, Arkady Plotnitsky, Brian Rotman, Barbara Herrnstein Smith, John Vignaux Smyth, E. Roy Weintraub



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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Barbara Herrnstein Smith is Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory at Duke University. Arkady Plotnitsky is Visiting Scholar at Duke University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction: Networks and Symmetries, Decidable and Undecidable / Barbara Herrnstein Smith and Arkady Plotnitsky

Thinking Dia-Grams: Mathematics, Writing, and Virtual Reality /
Brian Rotman

Concepts and the Mangle of Practice: Constructing Quaternions / Andrew Pickering

The Moment of Truth on Dublin Bridge: A Response to Andrew Pickering / Owen Flanagan

Explanation, Agency, and Metaphysics: A Reply to Owen Flanagan / Andrew Pickering

Agency and the Hybrid Collectif / Michel Callon and John Law

The Accidental Chordate: Contingency in Developmental Systems/ Susan Oyama

Complementarity, Idealization, and the Limits of Classical Conceptions of Reality / Arkady Plotnitsky

Is “Is a Precursor of” a Transitive Relation? / E. Roy Weintraub

Fraud by Numbers: Quantitative Rhetoric in the Piltdown Forgery Discovery / Malcolm Ashmore

A Glance at SunSet: Numerical Fundaments in Frege, Wittgenstein, Shakespeare, and Beckett / John Vignaux Smyth

Microdynamics of Incommensurability: Philosophy of Science Meets Science Studies / Barbara Hernnstein Smith

Notes on Contributors

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1863-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1857-6
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