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Abstract

Stephen Brush once asked, “Should the history of science be rated ‘X’” Well, times have changed. Now controversy reigns over the role of sociology in the science classroom. Here, I profile several dimensions of the sociology of science and survey recent efforts by philosophers to address its most radical claims. In respecting the opposing poles of this contentious debate, I contend that it is possible to chart a path between the Scylla of scientism and the Charybdis of relativism. Most notably, educators must differentiate between the normative and descriptive elements of the ‘nature of science’—and teach both. Further, they must go beyond the rhetoric of tentativeness and fallibility in science by describing just when and how individual scientists and/or a scientific community can err—and how they identify and remedy their errors. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed88:934–946, 2004