5 votes

Scientism schmientism! Why there are no other ways of knowing apart from science (broadly construed)

7 comments

  1. [5]
    grungegun
    Link
    Weak scientism seems to be void of content given the extent of the elaboration in the article, so putting that aside, I wonder about the characterization of strong scientism. They need to add a...

    Weak scientism seems to be void of content given the extent of the elaboration in the article, so putting that aside, I wonder about the characterization of strong scientism.

    They need to add a caveat that science is the only source of knowledge is itself an axiom. The author addresses that the claim may be resilient to common presuppositional claims within contemporary scientific thought, but the primary attribute of scientific discovery is methodological, and the article appears to sweep that under the rug. He does attempt to address that by calling it a foundational fallacy, but we can quickly evaid that by pointing out that foundational concerns only require clarity, not absolute groundedness. And his view lacks clarity, as he appeals to variuos distended metaphors for what searching for knowledge is.

    Since scientific methodology is a well-known hard problem in philosophy (not in Chalmer's sense, but see Popper, Kuhn), and string scientism appears to be a branch of verificationism, which is no longer believed to be a solid theory, so I think it would help if he spent more time addressing the historical contrast between scientism and older attempts at it, which have failed.

    Anyways, thanks for the article.

    5 votes
    1. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Thinking of all knowledge as being sort of like mathematics, where there are clear axioms and theorems, itself seems like a mistake? What axioms and theorems do you use to recognize a cat?

      Thinking of all knowledge as being sort of like mathematics, where there are clear axioms and theorems, itself seems like a mistake? What axioms and theorems do you use to recognize a cat?

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        grungegun
        Link Parent
        I'm not entirely clear on how what you've said relates to what I've said. I didn't say that there needed to be clear axioms or theorems. I noted that a theory of knowledge should be clear and...

        I'm not entirely clear on how what you've said relates to what I've said. I didn't say that there needed to be clear axioms or theorems. I noted that a theory of knowledge should be clear and definable, but scientism is neither. Assuming the author wants to propose a theory that everyone should subscribe to, it seems reasonable that the theory itself be clear. I did not require that the objects (cats) that the theory talks about be clear or definable.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Okay, I see now. Sorry about that!

          Okay, I see now. Sorry about that!

  2. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    Okay as far as it goes, but I think this might benefit from considering David Chapman's distinction between reasonable and rational thinking. Reasonable thinking is about local, good-enough...

    Okay as far as it goes, but I think this might benefit from considering David Chapman's distinction between reasonable and rational thinking. Reasonable thinking is about local, good-enough truths, not universal truths, and nearly all of our thinking day-to-day is non-universal. Scientific work emphasizes the discovery of more-or-less universal truths.

    2 votes
    1. ShroudedMouse
      Link Parent
      These two types of thinking are often used in what I think is called a Motte and Bailey fallacy. The arguer wants to claim day-to-day reasonable thinking as the domain of science. However, when...

      These two types of thinking are often used in what I think is called a Motte and Bailey fallacy. The arguer wants to claim day-to-day reasonable thinking as the domain of science. However, when pressed about the lack of rigorous methodology, it's not the reasonable thinking that is defended (or even defined), it's the 'rational' thinking of scientists in labs doing double-blind experiments etc.

      It's this loss of distinction, the conflation of epistemological approaches, that marks Scientism to me.

      5 votes