What is science? How is scientific knowledge affected by the society that produces it? Does scientific knowledge directly correspond to reality? Can we draw a line between science and pseudo-science? Will it ever be possible for computers to undertake scientific investigation independently? Is there such a thing as feminist science? In this book the author addresses questions such as these using a technique of 'cognitive play', which creates and explores new links between the ideas and results of contemporary history, philosophy, and sociology of science. New ideas and approaches are applied to a wide range of case studies, many of them from controversial and contested science. This book will be of interest to historians and sociologists of science, to anyone interested in science studies, and to educated general readers with an interest in the history, philosophy, and social context of science. – Contents : Preface. – 1. Introduction; – Part I. The Nature of Science: – 2. Levels of cognitive activity; – 3. Facts in frameworks; – 4. Rationality, irrationality and relativism; – 5. Knowledge and reality; – 6. A new account of the scientific process. – Part II. Does Science Have Distinctive Qualities?: – 7. What, if anything, is distinctive about science?; – 8. How is good science distinguished from bad science?; – 9. A theory of the pathologies of science. – Part III. Changing Science in a Changing World?: – 10. What are acceptable variations of present science?; – 11. And in the long term? – Appendix; Includes bibliographical references (343-359) and index.