In this assignment we will analyze the relation among selected ideas, images, phrases, terms, and words found in Science and Technology Studies (STS) through the lens of post-truth. The goals of this assignment are:
❧ To graphically represent our knowledge of STS and, in so doing, formulate arguments that convey our understanding;
❧ To make concise, significant argumentative claims about STS that accurately expresses the relationships we map;
❧ To explain our findings cogently by making an argument about STS in relation to post-truth.
In 2016, Oxford Living Dictionaries named “post-truth” the word of the year. Post-truth is: “an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.”
Established a decade earlier, the term “post-truth” saw a spike in use corresponding to the Brexit referendum and the US presidential election. Academics also seized on the term. Beginning, roughly, with Steve Fuller’s provocation on December 25, 2016, STS began to examine its role in the “post-truth era.” Fuller held that following David Bloor’s symmetry principle, and inviting others to do the same, implicated STS as a purveyor of post-truth. Moreover, Fuller claimed, STS should embrace this role. An exchange between Fuller and Sergio Sismondo in EASST Review, a dialogue including Fuller, Erik Baker and Naomi Oreskes, and Amanda Phillips in the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective, and a group of articles by Sismondo, Harry Collins and Michael Lynch in Social Studies of Science suggests strongly that the matter of STS and post-truth remains a significant issue (please refer below to references).
For this assignment, you have been placed into three teams. The assignment is composed of three elements: 1) the concept map; 2) a set of argumentative claims; and 3) a roundtable discussion.
The Concept Map
You will construct an initial concept map due by midnight October 5. You will revise, extend and construct a final concept map due by midnight November 30.
Initial Concept Map
A concept map depicts proposed, or suggested, relationships among concepts. Concept maps graphically organize and structure knowledge. Put broadly, a concept map presents an illustrated argument.
Please construct a concept map of key ideas, images, phrases, terms, words in STS using “post-truth” as the central node. The terms and ideas we present and address in the course readings, assignments, and class discussions will serve as a basis for your map. In addition, please include concepts related to post-truth and STS that arise from your review of STS journals, past and current events and media, and other readings and courses.
For the concept map, Google’s Realtime Board might prove helpful—although you are free to use whatever mapping software works for the team (free web-based apps include mindmapmaker.org and wisemapping.com).
The initial concept map is due by midnight October 5.
Final Concept Map
After the mid-point of the semester, please continue to revise and extend your concept maps until the roundtable discussion.
The final concept map is due midnight November 30.
Set of Argumentative Claims
Please provide three brief, single-sentence, argumentative claims—a statement which identifies a significant issue and on which we could reasonably have differing opinions—that capture the relation among STS, post-truth, and the key ideas, images, phrases, terms, words you have mapped.
In a brief statement of no more than 500 words, please explain how these claims arose in relation to your concept map. Additionally, please explain the argument these claims entail about the relation of STS and post-truth.
Please post your set of argumentative claims and statement to the team's Concept Map and Claims page by midnight October 5.
Please provide three brief, single-sentence, argumentative claims regarding STS, post-truth, and the relation among the key ideas, images, phrases, terms, words you have mapped. These claims may be new or revised, in part or whole, from your initial set of claims. Please post this set of argumentative claims to the teams's Concept Map and Claims page by midnight November 30.
Each team will discuss their concept map and final set of claims for 30 to 35 minutes. The roundtable will address what your final concept maps and claims reveal about how and why you understand in STS in relation to post-truth and the kind of claims and, so, the arguments we can, and should, make as a result.
• Baker, Erik and Naomi Oreskes. 2017. “It’s No Game: Post-Truth and the Obligations of Science Studies.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6, no. 8: 1-10.
• Bloor, David. 1991. Knowledge and Social Social Imagery. University of Chicago Press.
• Collins, Harry, Robert Evans and Martin Weinel. 2017. STS as Science or Politics? Social Studies of Science 47, no. 4: 580-586.
• Fuller, Steve. 2016. “Embrace the Inner Fox: Post-Truth as the STS Symmetry Principle Universalized.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective (December 25): http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-3nx.
• Fuller, Steve. 2017. “What are You Playing At? On the Use and Abuse of Games in STS.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6, no. 9: 39-49.
• Fuller, Steve. 2107. “Is STS All Talk and No Walk?” EASST Review 36 no. 1: https://easst.net/article/is-sts-all-talk-and-no-walk/.
• Lynch, Michael. 2107. "STS, Symmetry and Post-Truth." Social Studies of Science 47, no. 4: 593-599.
• Oxford Living Dictionaries. 2106. “Word of the Year: Post-Truth.” https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016.
• Phillips, Amanda. 2107. “Playing the Game in a Post-Truth Era.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6, no. 7: 54-56.
• Sismondo, Sergio. 2107. “Not a Very Slippery Slope: A Reply to Fuller.” EASST Review 36, no. 2: https://easst.net/article/not-a-very-slippery-slope-a-reply-to-fuller/.
• Sismondo, Sergio. 2107. "Casting a Wider Net: A Reply to Collins, Evans and Weinel." Social Studies of Science 47, no. 4 : 587-592.