Scientific discovery is both a logical and a social process. Therefore sociological, psychological and ideological factors also influence the growth of scientific knowledge. The concept of ideology, in its various meanings, implies that an (extra-rational) frame of mind, may set a limit to our purely logical efforts at understanding the world around us. Likewise, Freudian — and other psychoanalytical — categories are frequently used to show the impact of an individual’s psyche on his mode of behaviour, system of beliefs and methods of evaluation. Thus ideological and psychological theories together emphasise that a man’s social and personal history modify and constrain his ‘purely’ logical view of the problems which confront him. We shall discuss the concept of ideology, and its significance for the progress of economic ideas, in the next chapter. The role of psychological factors will be examined not as a separate category but in conjunction with the sociology of scientific discovery. For the psychological factors themselves may be subdivided into private or individual as opposed to public or social: it would be irrelevant, if not impossible, to generalise about the influence of individual psychology in relation to the growth of public knowledge; on the other hand, the influence of social psychology — i.e. the psychological characteristics shared by a community — cannot be isolated from the social environment on which it is based.
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- Big Science Versus Great Science: A Contribution to the Sociology of the Academic Profession
- Macmillan Education UK
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