Derby, United Kingdom
|Occupation||Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh|
|Notable work(s)||Knowledge and Social Imagery (1976/1991)|
David Bloor (born 1942) is a professor in, and a former director of, the Science Studies Unit at the University of Edinburgh. He is a key figure in the Edinburgh School and played a major role in the development of the field of Science and Technology Studies. He is best known for advocating the Strong Programme in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, most notably in his book Knowledge and Social Imagery.
He was born in Derby. He started his academic career in philosophy and psychology. In the 1970s he and Barry Barnes were the major figures of the strong programme, which put forward queries against philosophical a priorism in the understanding of scientific knowledge. This is an approach, popular in the philosophy of science, that simply precluded inquiries about science by treating successful scientific knowledge as simply true or rational without empirically investigating how such knowledge has come to be accepted as true or rational. Bloor's book Knowledge and Social Imagery (Routledge, 1976) is one of the key texts of the strong programme.
Bloor wrote extensively on the Kuhn/Popper debate, and is a representative figure of the sociology of scientific knowledge. In the 1980s when French scholars like Bruno Latour developed the actor-network theory (partially based on the strong programme), David Bloor strongly disagreed with the ANT camp when they argued that human and non-humans should be treated in an equivalent manner, going so far as to write an article entitled "Anti-Latour".
- Knowledge and Social Imagery (Routledge, 1976; 2nd edition Chicago University Press, 1991)
- Wittgenstein: A Social Theory of Knowledge (Macmillan and Columbia, 1983)
- Scientific Knowledge: A Sociological Analysis with Barry Barnes and John Henry (Athlone and Chicago University Press, 1996)
- Wittgenstein: Rules and Institutions (Routledge, 1997).
- The Enigma of the Aerofoil: Rival Theories in Aerodynamics, 1909-1930 (University of Chicago Press, 2011)
- Wittgenstein and Mannheim on the Sociology of Mathematics, in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Part A 4(2) pp. 173–191 (1973)
- The Strengths of the Strong Programme, in Philosophy of Social Science 11 (1981)
- Durkheim and Mauss Revisited: Classification and the Sociology of Knowledge, in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 13(4) pp267–297 (1982)
- Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge with Barry Barnes, in Martin Hollis & Steven Lukes (eds.) Rationality and Relativism (Blackwell, 1982)
- Idealism and the Sociology of Knowledge, in Social Studies of Science 26(4) pp. 839–856 (1996)
- Anti-Latour, in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science 30(1) pp. 81–112 (1999)
- Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, in I. Niiniluoto, et al. (eds.) Handbook of Epistemology (Dordrecht: Kluwer), pp. 919–962 (2004)
- Relativism and the Sociology of Knowledge, in Steven Hales (ed.) A Companion to Relativism (2011)
- David Bloor's home page at the University of Edinburgh.
- Science Studies Unit, University of Edinburgh