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By J. F. Scott

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Richardson improper special interests, social pieties and taboos, and other contaminants. Advocates of this strategy abound—they typically “know what the science says” but blame the politicians, the bureaucrats, the treaties that grant rights to native peoples, the greed of fish farmers, and other nonscientific factors for the mess. ) If science could proceed untrammeled, it could speak to the general human interest. Of course, one person’s contamination is another person’s contribution to the debate.

Let us fully pry apart the motivating pretheoretical claim that science is an internationalist and practical discipline promoting positive change in the world and, as such, is opposed to fragmenting and dangerous stories in ideology and metaphysics on the one hand, and, on the other, the particular tools the logical empiricists circa 1938 had for theorizing this claim. Most of what we as philosophers of science have been taught has been on the latter, more internal and theoretical, side of the question.

We may as well see fully what the theoretical consequences of such a view are. 18 2. Another way forward would be to insist that there is an important universal demarcation of science from nonscience and, indeed, an important sense in which the various branches of science can and, at times, do cooperate with one another that does not and cannot extend to cooperation with the nonscientific fields. Here, pluralism of a descriptive kind is definitely helpful, if only as an aid to clarifying the phenomena.

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A History of Mathematics: From Antiquity to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century by J. F. Scott


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