Is a Science Peace Process Necessary?

Michael Lynch

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:
Is a Science Peace Process Necessary?

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The polarization associated with the “science wars” is unacceptable to many, and they would like to promote a “science peace process.” Before initiating such a peace process, however, it may be worth considering whether war is going on in the first place. If the “war” analogy is inappropriate in this instance, then there should be no need to declare peace. A peace process is an effort to start “talks” aiming to resolve, or at least interrupt, a chronic and violent conflict. The idea is that the combatants should talk instead of trying to destroy one another. Contrary to the usual kind of war, the science wars have been verbal debates between members of different academic fields. Until recently, many of the debaters had little to say to one another. As arguments often do, these particular debates frequently become heated and denunciatory, but it seems unnecessary to suspend a state of war in order to initiate peace talks. The state of this war consists of talk, and more talk, so it may make more sense to devise more interesting and respectful ways of talking and writing.

Keywords: science wars; science peace process; war analogy; verbal debates; peace talk; talks

Chapter.  5508 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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