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Comparing Steven Shapin's 'Pump And Circumstance'

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In Steven Shapins, “Pump and Circumstance: Robert Boyle’s literacy Technology,” he discusses the process in which Boyle had constructed experimental maters of fact and produced circumstances in which assent could be prepared. He continues to explain this point by using materials coming from history, physiology and sociology of science. Shapin does an exceptional job presenting Boyles predictions on the mechanisms of fact making, in which Boyle proposes that matters of must be done in a public sphere for them to be legitimate facts; they needs to be experienced by multiple witnesses. Shapins includes an intrinsic detailed explanation of the three ways of fact making, and stresses importance on virtual witnessing which is generally how knowledge is transferred from person to person around the world. The author continues with a clear example of why it is important to receive virtual witnesses with the example of the the experiment called the pump, and how alchemists were not trusted thus the…show more content…
In lecture, we spoke about closed experiments, and the author confirms the lecture material when he mentions that the experiments were seen to be done in a “closet” thus leading to the experiments to seem shady. It was interesting to me to be given another look on alchemist with an example to back up the knowledge presented. Furthermore, it was thought-provoking to then be given a solution to the closet experiments, that being virtual witnessing.

The author does not, however, conduct this article in an organized manner. The points seem to have been danced around and left to come back to later in the article. This makes it harder for the reader to follow along and to stay interested in the point at presented. It also confuses the reader and ruins the flow of the essay. Thus, there is no clear direction of the
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