Epistemology had to come to terms with “the social” on two different occasions. The first was represented by the dispute about the epistemological status of the “social” sciences, and in this case the already well established epistemology of the natural sciences seemed to have the right to dictate the conditions for a discipline to be a science. But the social sciences could successfully vindicate the legitimacy of their specific criteria for scientificity. More recently, the impact of social factors on the construction of our knowledge (including scientific knowledge) has reversed, in a certain sense, the old position and promoted social inquiry to the role of a criterion for evaluating the purport of cognitive (including scientific) statements. But this has undermined the traditional characteristics of objectivity and rigor that seem constitutive of science. Moreover, in order to establish the real extent to which social conditionings have an impact on scientific knowledge one must credit sociology with a sound ground of reliability, and this is not possible without a preliminary “epistemological” assessment. These are some of the topics discussed in this book, both theoretically and with reference to concrete cases.

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Evandro AGAZZI, Javier ECHEVERRIA, Amparo GÓMEZ RODRÍGUEZ: Introduction: Epistemology and the Social
Part 1. General Perspectives
Evandro AGAZZI: Epistemology and the Social: A Feedback Loop
Hervé BARREAU: Historical and Transcendental Factors in the Construction of the Sciences
Juan URRUTIA ELEJALDE: Puzzles and Problems
Jesús P. ZAMORA BONILLA: Normativity and Self-Interest in Scientific Research
Part 2. Values in the Structure of Science
Wenceslao J. GONZÁLEZ: Economic Values in the Configuration of Science
Ramón QUERALTÓ: The Philosophical Impact of Technoscience or the Development of a Pragmatic Philosophy of Science
Part 3. Social Impact on Particular Science
Alberto CORDERO: Epistemology and “the Social” in Contemporary Natural Science
Jesús MOSTERÍN: Social Factors in the Development of Genetics and the Lysenko Affair
Valentín A. BAZHANOV: Social Milieu and Evolution of Logic, Epistemology, and the History of Science: The Case of Marxism
Part 4. Epistemology of the Social Sciences
Juan Fco. ÁLVAREZ, Javier ECHEVERRÍA: Bounded Rationality in Social Sciences
Amparo Gómez RODRÍGUEZ: Rational Choice Theory and Economic Laws: The Role of Shared Values
Brigitte FALKENBURG: The Invisible Hand: What Do We Know?
Peter KEMP: The Cosmopolitan Vision