Barbarians at Which Gates?

Shapin Steven

in The One Culture?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780226467221
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467245 | DOI:
Barbarians at Which Gates?

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This chapter attempts to draw attention to the structural implications of a situation in which a group of academics are obliged repeatedly to attest, not just their competence in their special subjects (which, though unpleasant and uncommon, is certainly fair enough) but the innocuousness of their states of mind and intentions in doing their specialized work (which, the chapter states, is not). More generally, the cultural phenomenon of academic “antiscience” would be accorded a legitimacy it does not deserve, namely, positing its substantial and coherent existence. The dismal fate of the academic “antiscientists” would then be available as an object-lesson of what risks attend certain forms of inquiry. The university will be seen as a haven for free inquiry just on the condition that one naturalistically studies subjects. The lesson will be: study down; do not study up.

Keywords: antiscience; university; natural science; science studies; states of mind; specialized work

Chapter.  2319 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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