Vienna STS Talk

17.12.2019 17:00

How to be constructivist about scientific representation?

Tarja KNUUTTILA (University of Vienna)

This talk investigates whether the constructivist approach to scientific representation could be reconciled with the recent philosophical accounts of models and representation. I argue that the earlier constructivists, in their critique of scientific representation, stumbled over the constructed nature of their own accounts of science. The problem of reflexivity made them realize that any radical constructivist claims tend to be self-defeating. That this problem was felt to be so acute by many constructivists in the field of Science and Technology Studies shows that in their wholesale attack on representation these “reflexivists” (and some representation-hostile philosophical neo-pragmatists alike) were themselves relying on a rather stringent notion of representation. Yet there are many forms of constructivism as well as several philosophical accounts of scientific representation. The pragmatic accounts, in particular, can fruitfully be combined with a more modest constructivist programme leading, I propose, to an artefactual understanding of modelling and representation.


Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung


Seminarraum STS, NIG, 1010 Wien, Universitätsstraße 7/II/6. Stock