The Normative Structure Of Science Essay

827 Words Dec 15th, 2014 4 Pages
In The Normative Structure of Science (1942), Robert K. Merton, an American sociologist, and one of the most pivotal figures of modern day sociology, famously presented a theory of how the scientific community worked, or rather how it should ideally function. Merton idealized science as a self-regulating community of researchers, governed by a strong and distinctive ethos. He believed that this ethos, involved the sharing of knowledge, scepticism and scrutiny of this knowledge, and more importantly, a strong belief in the pursuit of truth and scientific understanding.
Merton proposed that each member of the scientific community should be given equal standing and opportunity, irrespective of whether they are simply a student formulating a thesis, or a leading researcher in microwave photonics. He expressed that it does not matter if the researcher in question is a student fresh out of graduate school, or even a Nobel Prize winner, and that both he or she and the rest of the scientific community must be considered equals and contemporaries. He believed that all scientists should receive the same opportunity to voice their ideas and scrutinise even popular belief, and by the same token, be open to criticism to the ideas that they put forward. Moreover, he suggested that all scientists have an obligation to share their scientific knowledge and insight, and idealized that the scientific community should be motivated by a desire to pursue pure science, and a yearning to…

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