How to be Antiscientific

Steven Shapin

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:
How to be Antiscientific

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The immediate occasion for the science wars seems to be a series of claims about science made by some sociologists, cultural historians, and fuzzy-minded philosophers. As a matter of convenience, the chapter refers to propositions about science as “metascience,” and, because it is very important to be clear about what is at issue, the chapter lists here just a few of the more contentious and provocative metascientific claims. For many readers, even listing such statements is unnecessary: they will already be thoroughly familiar with sentiments like these associated with the writings of sociologists of science and academic fellow travelers, as they will be equally familiar with the outraged reactions to them expressed by a number of natural scientists, convinced that such claims are motivated mainly or solely by hostility to science, or that they proceed from ignorance of science, or both. Science and rationality are said to be besieged by barbarians at the gate, and, unless such assertions are exposed for the rubbish they are, the institution of science, and its justified standing in modern culture, will be at risk.

Keywords: metascience; sociologists of science; natural scientists; modern culture; rationality; institutions of science

Chapter.  7716 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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