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Varieties of UnderstandingNew Perspectives from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology$
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Stephen R. Grimm

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190860974

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190860974.001.0001

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Recasting the “Scientism” Debate

Recasting the “Scientism” Debate

(p.93) 5 Recasting the “Scientism” Debate
Varieties of Understanding

Anthony Gottlieb

Oxford University Press

This chapter questions the idea that the sciences are by their nature limited in scope and contends that it rests on a failure to press the question of what we mean by “science.” This term and its cognates are approbative or honorific rather than purely descriptive: they have typically been used to mark whatever was thought at the time to be the best sort of theoretical knowledge. So it is not clear how any topic in the domain of theoretical knowledge can be judged to be beyond the scope of scientific illumination. Particular attention is paid to the history of debates about “scientism” and to the recently popular idea that consciousness and subjectivity are citadels that cannot be breached by natural science.

Keywords:   scientism, scientia, subjectivity, consciousness, understanding

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