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"Science, Anti-Science, Pseudoscience, Truth": Edited by Anthony Morgan

"Science, Anti-Science, Pseudoscience, Truth": Edited by Anthony Morgan


Publication Date: 08 July 2024

Pages: 140


There are many good reasons to trust science, with the pandemic being just the latest example of scientists delivering on the innovation, technology, and medicine for which they are richly funded. Yet, at the same time, the status of scientific knowledge has become more contested and politicised than ever, with anti-scientific and pseudoscientific stances emerging in relation to climate change, vaccines, race, gender, and much more. Philosophers of science remain cautious when considering the relationship between science and truth, with an increasing focus on the social elements of knowledge production. Feminist philosophy of science, with its idea that the objectivity of science as a social enterprise cannot inhere to individual subjects, was once a somewhat fringe undertaking, with pioneering thinkers like Sandra Harding and Helen Longino regularly dumped in a “rogues’ gallery” of perceived enemies of science, alongside thinkers like Bruno Latour. But these feminist critiques of traditional conceptions of epistemology, knowledge production, and scientific methodology are now front and centre in philosophy of science.


This book emerged from a series of events on science, anti-science, and pseudoscience run by The Philosopher over the past year. The first half of the volume looks at some of the key questions in the new philosophy of science, while the second half looks at topics like vaccines, the gender wars, and Critical Race Theory, where science and politics meet in highly contested ways. The conversations address a wide range of questions, including:


  • Does science claim to be offering us truth or mere reliability?
  • What is the role of facts in resolving our increasingly extreme ideological conflicts?
  • If we are to defer to the experts to help us navigate an uncertain world, how do we decide which ones to trust?
  • If what we historically took to be good science turned into pseudoscience, and vice versa, why should we assume that this situation will not continue into the future? 
  • Is trust in science to be thought of primarily in epistemic terms, or it is just as much a moral, administrative, and affective matter?
  • If parts of science are widely understood to suffer from bad methodology, profiteering interests, and status-seeking, why trust science?
  • If scientific truth can only be accessed by a tiny minority of experts, what is the relationship between science and democracy?
  • Is intellectual independence possible when a meaningful understanding of most areas of life is well beyond the reach of even the educated layperson?


Part I: Philosophy of Science Today

1. When is a Fact a Fact?

Peter Vickers with Jana Bacevic

2. Truth, Reliability, and the Tangle of Science

Ann C. Thresher with Peter Vickers

3. Pseudoscience after Feyerabend

Chiara Ambrosio and Ian James Kidd

4. Physics is Not an Exception

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein with Adam Ferner

5. Trust, Expertise, and Hostile Epistemology
C. Thi Nguyen with Johnny Brennan

Part II: The Politics of Truth
6. The Force of Scientific Authority

Nima Bassiri with Amogh Sahu

7. Vaccine Hesitancy and Trust

Maya J. Goldenberg with Alexis Papazoglou

8. Extremism and the Allure of Science

Tracy Llanera and Louise Richardson-Self with Anthony Morgan

9. Critical Race Theory, Science, and Pseudoscience

Victor Ray and Sam Hoadley-Brill with Jana Bacevic

10. Ideology and Political Belief

Jason Blakely and Oliver Traldi with Anthony Morgan

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