Beyond Scientism and the Bin of Broken Things

It short-changes the question "what are the philosophical problems with modern science?" to slap on the label of scientism.

Take the metaphor of a bin. If we are not careful when we create labels for bins of broken things, we do little but make places to keep broken things out of sight. Then, we put off as long as humanly possible unpacking those broken things from their neat bins. Sorting them into what can be fixed and what needs to be tossed altogether is not the stuff of Nobel Prizes.

Scientism is a window to repairing what is broken in science

The bin of “scientism,” and all the broken down bits of science it contains, needs to be unpacked and sorted. The question then becomes, how do we do that? How can we be confident in our ability to discern “broken beyond repair” from “repairable”?

Of course some areas of modern science are much more prone to breakage than others.

It’s ironic of course saying that labeling scientism is a problem. The term identifies a real and systemic cultural challenge, but the challenge when it comes to jiving with philosophy cannot and must not be reduced to “some people use science the right way and some don’t.” That’s a qualitative, sometimes moral or ethical, issue that is hardly unique to science. The problem is that science so far lacks the real means (or is it will?) for delineating its own usefulness from utility.

What are the philosophical problems with modern science? (original Quora question) The source material cited with the question gives a top notch analysis. And full props to Nathan K. for his comprehensive and very fair answer.

Original publish date Jan 29, 2018