Discovering the AIDS virus: Scientific Progress through the Interaction of Human and Non-Human Actants

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Stefan Paul Dehod


The notion that science progresses through the actions of scientists on a nature characterized as passive is hardly new to most. While scholars like Thomas Kuhn have challenged the concept of science as one of progression others such as Bruno Latour have challenged and continue to challenge the idea of nature as passive. Focusing on the discovery HIV in the Pasteur Institute this paper will further challenge the way in which science is viewed as progressing by illustrating the unacknowledged factor of chance in the discovery. Finally, through use of Latour’s theoretical contributions, the interaction of human and non-human actants in the process of discovery illuminate the inadequacies of viewing nature as an order revealed by scientists and the constructivist view that nature is ordered by scientists.

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Stefan Paul Dehod

Bachelor of ArtsSociology Major, Philosophy MinorExpected Completion Spring 2012


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