Sunday, April 14, 2013

Science, Scientism, & Anti-Science in the Age of Preposterism

Science, Scientism, and Anti-Science in the Age of Preposterism
by Susan Haack,
Skeptical Inquirer, Volume 21.6, November / December 1997.

I once attended a lecture by Susan Haack on logic, in 1980. I subsequently read her book Philosophy of Logics (Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978). Since then, she's written on broader issues.

Here she decries the corruption of standards in academia, particularly in philosophy. She sees it being corrupted by business imperatives, careerism, and the interdependent dynamic of scientism and anti-scientism. An example of the former is the lucrative area of cognitive science, eclipsing epistemology. As for anti-science, she roundly condemns, as she should, feminist philosophy, which she regards as a sham.

A key quote on the interdependence of scientism and anti-science:

"Now one begins to see why the revolutionary scientism encountered in contemporary philosophy often manifests a peculiar affinity with the anti-scientific attitudes which, as I conjecture, are prompted by resentment, as scientism is prompted by envy, of the sciences. Both parties have become disillusioned with the very idea of honest inquiry, of truth-seeking."

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