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The Good and the True$
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Michael Morris

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198239444

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198239444.001.0001

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(p.41) 4 Scientism
The Good and the True

Michael Morris

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines scientism as the thesis that every expression which can genuinely be correctly applied—which can be used in saying something true—is reducible to some expression of a natural science. It fixes a conception of explanatory priority for reductions by isolating a certain class of statements, or a certain vocabulary, as basic. These statements are prior to all others, and all other statements stand in need of reduction to them. This chapter also presents two arguments against scientism. These arguments show that scientism fails when its demands are applied to itself. But it is not surprising that scientism should fail in this way, since those sciences which scientism can recognize as accredited natural sciences differ from metaphysical theories because they do not have to apply themselves. Another reason for unsuitability is to suggest that scientism is covertly Platonist.

Keywords:   scientism, reductions, arguments, natural sciences, Platonism

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