Too Much or too Little Science? Between the Extremes of Scientism and Pseudoscience

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November 21, 2016

We live in an increasingly polarized society, not just in terms of political and social issues, but also when it comes to our very understanding of the world. An increasing number of people question the authority of science, rejecting well established notions such as evolution, climate change, and the safety of vaccines. They prefer to engage in pseudoscientific thinking, according to which the universe bends to our will (the “law of attraction”) or God personally created every species on earth. On the opposite side of the barricade there are those who display a smug overconfidence about the powers of science — known as scientism. They ridicule other disciplines as well as religious belief, and argue that if a question cannot be approached scientifically than it amounts to nonsense. What is to be done about such ideological excesses? Can we develop a more reasonable model of human understanding? And how do we chart a course between scientism and pseudoscience? Join us as Massimo Pigliucci leads us in this very important discussion.


Prof. Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee. He currently is the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of biology, the relationship between science and philosophy, the nature of pseudoscience, and the practical philosophy of Stoicism. He is a prolific author and editor, including the recently published Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem (University of Chicago Press), co-edited with Maarten Boudry.

Author: Gotham Philosophical Society