A Glonk’s view of HPS

Hello, I thought by way of introduction I might begin by explaining what this blog is for and how I look at HPS (for ‘look’ read- strain at through glass bricks of imperception). I really began this blog thanks to the Leeds University HPS museum project. The museum has just launched its own new blog and we will be posting updates on the work of the museum task force there, have a ganders. I thought, seeing as I will be posting on there, I might as well have a full-blown web presence, if you’re going to get syphilis you might as well get it in an orgy. As for what this blog is for, you’ve got your Guardian’s and your Telegraph’s in the form of Whewell’s Ghost and Ether Wave Propaganda, this leaves wide open the territory of The People or The Daily Sport. My posts won’t necessarily be frequent, they won’t necessarily be enlightening or of any great depth, but they just might be entertaining and covered in pictures of tits. As evidence for this I shall now give a brief overview of my stance towards the history of science.

I finished my BA confident in the knowledge that I could now take down all those bastards who thought science paved the path towards truth. Everything was socially constructed man, there’s no way to objectively reach inter-subjective agreement so any attempt to is dogmatism, Feyerabend, Feyerarbend, Feyerabend! I got to Leeds for my MA, The Golem in one hand Revolutions in the other, and promptly had the stuffing kicked out of me. Not violently, not even impolitely, but consistently and unrelentingly. I had been promised a war damn it, where were my heroes? I soon learnt that most of them had gone the way of the Star Wars cast, only Han Solo (played by Steven Shapin) had gone on to greater things. What was more, those with the most exciting looking agenda were the ones going against this constructionist approach. Over and over again I would get interested in reading someone, someone who was weaving together social influences with the core of scientific activity and then bam! “Of course this is not to say that scientific knowledge doesn’t relate to a very real natural world, this is about our interpretations of it” or “for too long the ideas of science have been overlooked”. So, like any good Foucauldian, I have learnt to internalize all this censorship. Now a PhD student, I have yet to replace my strong relativistic approach with anything particularly coherent, and thankfully at the moment that seems to suit the discipline rather well. Plurality is the name of the game so for now at least I don’t feel the need to pick sides, it doesn’t even look like there are sides! However I miss having a cause to get behind and rather like a reformed paedophile, I do fear slipping into my old ways. It happens every now and then if I get into a particularly heated discussion, but less and less often. What to replace it with? Well that can be a job for you both, if you have a team that you would like to recruit me to please get in touch. I can promise unyielding dedication to the cause right up until the moment I meet someone with an opposing view and a sexy looking argument.

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