Scientism

Harman has a funny post up on a philosophy book he’s reading that’s all about science. I guess what people generally think is that Continentals don’t respect science or something. In fact, I would say that I respect it too much to keep reading really bad science in the work of certain philosophers—stuff that never gets past what you learn in a second year undergrad course. Scientists spend their time doing amazingly creative stuff like figuring out how to isolate one cause from another, or trying to build an apparatus to measure some really subtle change. I can’t do that. The people I read can’t do that. But they like sounding more authoritative, so they peer over the shoulders of the people that are actual, working scientists like a strange voyeur.

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One comment on “Scientism

  1. Mark N. says:

    I’m sure it’s not universal, but as an undergrad in a sort-of-sciencey area, I definitely got the impression that the professors I had with continental or critical-theory inclinations really really hated science, and were even suspicious of the handful of us sciencey students who had wandered into their class somehow. Most seemed to think science was a hegemonic discourse whose “truths” were really socially-constructed lies that empowered the white-male power structure.

    Essentially, if you were to read the Bloor-Latour polemical exchange (“Anti-Latour” and “For Bloor and Beyond”), the Continentals I’ve met all sided with Bloor.

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