chapter  Chapter 10
16 Pages

Therapeutic Truth Games

WithRobert M. Ariss†, Gary W. Dowsett

Taking a social constructionist approach to science, Latour and Woolgar, in their ethnographic study of a scientific laboratory, argue that scientific “facts,” rather then being unproblematic, progressive, revelatory truths, are linguistically constituted within the context of a global political-economic order. This chapter draws upon Latour and Woolgar’s appraisal that the “facts” of science are encoded social constructs fixed within truth regimes through processes of “the organization of persuasion through literary inscription”. Science constructs facts through the use of a hierarchy of “statement types,” ranging from pure conjecture to progressively more confident statements and finally to statements of uncontested “truth” value. Truth may be contested, of course, as the history of science readily reveals. Decisions may be reversed as new information becomes available and the patient accumulates experience with the therapy. In this manner, therapeutic practice can still be realized, even amidst a cloud of scientific uncertainty.