Contemporary sociology of science usually takes it for granted that science is, all down the line, social in character, and
that fatal consequences follow from this in regard to traditional philosophical views of the nature of scientific knowledge
and practice. There are a number of different accounts of science being social. All such accounts appear to be more or less
unclear as to what the social character of science precisely amounts to. In what follows, some features of a few recent accounts
will be surveyed, and some of their critical implications will be pointed out in regard to other conceptions of science, Popperian
methodology in particular. Preliminary attempts will also be made to point out some of the ways that science is being viewed
as social or socially conditioned (or socially constructed, socially shaped, socially constituted), as implied in those accounts.
Towards the end of the chapter, the intriguing issue of relativism will be briefly addressed. The major part of the current
sociology of science focuses on the natural sciences; the social sciences have received much less attention. In the course
of the following survey, economics and economic methodology will be kept in mind.