Sociology, Philosophy of Science and Emergent Order


Hull, David. Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science, Chicago: University of Chicago, 1998. 522 pp.

Hull appears completely unaware of Polanyi’s work, but his book is a fascinating “rediscovery” of the self-organizing processes within science via careful case studies in biology.

Michael Polanyi. The Logic of Liberty, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998. 277 pp.

Particularly important here is chapter 4 “Self-Government of Science.” Describes how the individual scientist, the scientific community as a whole, and the general public all participate in the development of science as a whole. Includes a discussion of political attempts to control science in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Chapter 5 discusses the differences between pure and applied science and chapter 6 a brief critique of attempts to plan science. The bulk of the book makes the case for polycentric self-organization over central control generally.

* Michael Polanyi. The Republic of Science, Knowing and Being: Essays by Michael Polanyi, edited by Marjorie Grene, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969. 49-72.

A classic essay on how the scientific community is self-organizing. Polanyi emphasizes that scientists can do effective work only within the context of a established community of peers committed to common values.

Titles not yet annotated:

Toulmin, Stephen. Human Understanding: The Collective Use and Evolution of Concepts. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972. 520 pp.

* Ziman, John. Public Knowledge Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968. 147 pp. Ziman further develops the argument Polanyi advanced in “The Republic of Science.”

Ziman, John. Reliable Knowledge, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.