January 23, 2005

High Culture "Takes On" Science

Here are the rules. If you're going to spend untold hours of your life whining about "postmodern science," first you need to do the following:
  1. Read what Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerbend actually wrote. Browsing through the "summaries" you found via Google doesn't count. Just read the books—they're not very long, don't worry.
  2. Understand that you just might not be the first person to "debunk" Karl Popper's idea that all scientific theories must be falsifiable. Sad but true.
  3. Name your targets! Are there real, flesh-and-blood people with actual influence advocating postmodern science? Awesome. But for Christ's sake, name them. Fluttering your hands around in the air and talking about "leftists in the academy" doesn't count.
Anyways, Roger Kimball inveighs against "scientific irrationalism," but the term strikes me as vague and misleading. This isn't really my field, but it seems that with regards to science, a person could believe that a) the ontology of science is subjective, b) the epistemology of science is subjective, c) both, or d) neither.

Kuhn seems more like a) than c) to me—since for him there are still perfectly good and objective reasons for choosing one particular scientific paradigm over another. Not that the kids at the New Criterion are interested in this sort of debate, but there you go...
-- Brad Plumer 9:17 PM || ||