The ‘strong programme’ and scientific anti-realism
Structure of the chapter
(Bloor 1976, 7)
It would be causal, that is, concerned with the conditions which bring about belief or states of knowledge. Naturally there will be other types of causes apart from social ones which will cooperate in bringing about belief.
It would be impartial with respect to truth and falsity, rationality or irrationality, success or failure. Both sides of these dichotomies will require explanation.
It would be symmetrical in its style of explanation. The same types of cause would explain, say, true and false beliefs.
It would be reflexive. In principle its patterns of explanation would have to be applicable to sociology itself. Like the requirement of symmetry this is a response to the need to seek for general explanations. It is an obvious requirement of principle because otherwise sociology would be a standing refutation of its own theories.
Bloor: non-symmetric approaches rely on ‘internal’ explanations for things deemed true and ‘external’ explanations for those deemed false.
“Of course knowledge must be distinguished from mere belief. This can be done by reserving the word ‘knowledge’ for what is collectively endorsed, leaving the individual and idiosyncratic to count as mere belief.” (Bloor 1976, 5)