Sociology of Science and Sociological Metatheory

Miloslav Petrusek



This study focuses on various forms of sociological accounts and understandings of science. It demonstrates that as an explanatory topic science enters the field of sociology together with the Enlighten- ment's idea of progress, which is then followed up by Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. However, it had taken many decades before sociolo- gists were able to free themselves of " historicist" ways of thinking, which can easily be traced in Comte's and Marx's writings. Since the 1930s, science has become a distinct research topic within sociology (with Robert K. Merton as a leading figure) that is nowadays more and more in the centre of systematic disciplinary interest (with David Bloor or Bruno Latour as leading figures). In the final parts, the author inquires into the arguments against science and associates these arguments with the transformations of societies. Also the role of sociological metatheory is aligned with the prospects of socio- logical accounts of science.


sociologie vědy; osvícenství; metateorie; vědění; historicismus; sociology of science; enlightenment; metatheory; knowledge; historicism

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: