Is science studies responsible for the advent of a post-truth era?
This is one of those questions that doesn't have a straight answer. You will
find it hard to make a definitive case either way. I expect most essays to
read something like "on the one hand this" "on the other hand that." Even
in essays that carefully weigh arguments for and against, it is important
that you come to some conclusion. Don't end on a maybe, come to some
resolution. I encourage you to make a decision on an answer because that
will help you to write a more rounded essay but the key learning and
assessment objectives of the essay are not depended on which side you
take on the controversy.
The most important features of the essay are 1) how you define "post-truth
era" in particular making explicit what that means in terms of popular and
elite views about science, 2) how you describe science studies, and 3)
what the two may have to do with one another. For a description of science
studies you should pay special attention to lecture 6 / week 7. For insights
on the relationship between sciences studies and post-truth start with the
reading list below and follow the leads given by the notes and bibliography
of those items.
You can read in depth, and adopt and expand the views and arguments of
one of the authors in the ongoing discussion or you can read widely and
come up with your own synthetic take on the issues. My advice is to make
careful notes of the readings before starting to write the essay. Whenever
possible work through examples to test your ideas and arguments.
• Sismondo, Sergio (2017) "Post-truth?" Social Studies of Science Vol.
• Collins, Harry and Robert Evans and Martin Weinel (2017) "STS as
Science or Politics?" Social Studies of Science Vol. 47(4) 580-586.
• Sismondo, Sergio (2017) "Casting a wider net: A reply to Collins,
Evans and Weinel" Social Studies of Science Vol. 47(4) 587-592.
• Lynch, Michael (2017) "STS, symmetry and post-truth" Social Studies
of Science Vol. 47(4) 593-599.