The Sciences are Discursive Constructs: The Communication Perspective as an Empirical Philosophy of Science
in: Lorenzo Cantoni and James A. Danowski (Eds.), Communication and Technology, De Gruyter Mouton, 2015
10 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2014 Last revised: 28 Aug 2015
Date Written: November 11, 2014
The new communication technologies have introduced a new dynamics in the sciences: in addition to the (local) context of discovery and the (global) context of justification, a third context of mediation enables scholars to reflect on the sciences as discursive constructs. As against the philosophical perspective, the communication perspective on the sciences enables us to proceed to the operationalization. One can, for example, expect the variation of scientific communications as knowledge claims in manuscripts. These knowledge claims are selectively organized in journals, and the disciplinary structures in the relations among journals can be used to visualize the latent dimensions of coding into specialisms and disciplines. The reconstructions in texts rewrite the sciences so that new words are needed or existing words (e.g., “force” in Newtonian and Aristotelian physics) are provided with new meaning. Thus, an evolutionary dynamics — restructuring from the perspective of hindsight — is added to the historical perspective following the arrow of time. From this perspective, the epistemological status of the sciences is changed, and an empirical philosophy of science can be envisaged. The different disciplines and interdisciplines can be expected to develop by exploring possible configurations of the three contexts.
Keywords: philosophy of communication, empirical, communication studies, philosophy of science
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