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História, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos

Print version ISSN 0104-5970On-line version ISSN 1678-4758


KROPF, Simone Petraglia  and  LIMA, Nísia Trindade. The values and institutional practice of science: Robert Merton’s and Thomas Kuhn’s conceptions. Hist. cienc. saude-Manguinhos [online]. 1999, vol.5, n.3, pp.565-581. ISSN 0104-5970.

While Robert Merton approached the issue from the perspective of "scientific ethos" and Thomas Kuhn, from the perspective of "paradigm/normal science," this comparative analysis of these two author’s conceptions of the social nature of science suggests that their views merged particularly when they argued that taking values into account was essential to understanding scientific activities. Placing prime importance on the notion of scientific community, these authors both analyze science as a practice which is defined and developed out of a set of beliefs, principles, and norms shared by a given collectivity. While there were some substantive differences between Merton’s and Kuhn’s outlooks - each had his own unique way of defining ‘social’ in the context of science - a comparison of their work underlines the importance of seeing institutionalized beliefs and values as essential in guiding the concrete actions of scientists.

Keywords : Robert Merton; Thomas Kuhn; sociology of science; scientific community.

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