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Abstract

In his paper, "The Problematics of a Social Constructivist Approach to Science," Bryce Christensen takes John Gray's hope that science can serve as a remedy for anthropocentrism as an entry point for discussing the debate between scientific realists and social constructivists. Christensen examines the way science appears to buttress the realist position when it confronts humans with truths that contradict their expectations and desires. In his discussion, Christensen also surveys the ways that science fits within social constructivist theory when it serves identifiable social needs or advances identifiable group interests. Further, Christensen identifies eschatological cosmology as an extreme test case for social constructivism because its bleak final predictions do not serve any of the group interests that social constructivists typically highlight as the driving force in their theoretical paradigm. Christensen concludes by suggesting that when social constructivists insist that their theory accounts for all of science, they risk creating a quasi-theological justification for new Inquisitors of the sort who once condemned Galileo for reporting observations that did not fit within their worldview.

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