Lawrence Krader, Interdisciplinarity, and the Concept of the Human Being
Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander
The essays contained in Beyond the Juxtaposition of Nature and Culture represent an attempt by scholars from Canada, Germany, and Mexico to come to grips with the innovative work of the American philosopher and anthropologist Lawrence Krader who has proposed nothing less than a new theory of nature, according to which there are at least three different orders—the material-biotic, the quantum, and the human—which differ from one another according to their different configurations of space-time, and which cannot be reduced the one to the others. Each author takes up Krader’s theory in relation to its impact on their own discipline: sociology, anthropology, the study of myth, the theory of labor and value, economics, linguistics, and aesthetics. The question of how nature and culture can be integrated within a theoretical framework which links them in difference and nexus and allows each their non-reductive space leads each of the contributors to move in their thinking beyond the old dualisms of materialism and idealism, fact and value, nature and culture.
Science, Productive and Unproductive Labor, Mediate and Immediate Production (Michelle Goldenberg)
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Science, Productive and Unproductive Labor, Mediate and Immediate Production
Traditionally, the sociology of science has employed the juxtaposition of nature and culture to inform its studies. Two dominant perspectives in the field—the Columbia school and the Edinburgh school—each treat nature and culture as irreconcilable phenomena. Despite their opposing lines of research known as the “weak program” and “strong program” respectively in the sociology of science, these schools of thought share the common assumption that science is either a part of nature or culture exclusively.
The “weak program” assumes that the content of scientific knowledge reflects nature, unless it is obscured by intervening cultural forces. As a reflection of nature, scientific knowledge is independent of the social process and does not require a sociological explanation. Scholars at the Columbia school (Cole and Cole 1973; Merton 1949) confine their analyses to the networks and resources embedded in scientific organizations. These are considered cultural phenomena, and the sole candidate for the sociological investigation of science.
On the other hand, the “strong program” in the sociology of science proposes that scientific knowledge reflects culture. The intrinsic truth of scientific claims as reflective of nature is excluded, and all scientific facts are legitimate candidates for sociological inquiry and critique regardless of their perceived truth or falsity (Bloor, Barnes, and Henry 1996). Reason and evidence are ruled out as causes for beliefs, eliminating the possibility...
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