Scientific Understanding And The Control Of Nature

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Science And Education


Modern science, for the most part, constrains the kind of theories that it entertains, and selects the kind of empirical data with which theories are related, to accord with “materialist strategies”. These strategies are adopted, I maintain, not because the objective of gaining understanding that manifests cognitive values highly always requires it, but because of an “elective affinity” (the elements of which I detail) between the materialist strategies and a certain outlook on the control of nature. A social value, thus, serves to ground the adoption of the materialist strategies. This, however, does not undermine the view that sound theory acceptance is based on “impartial” considerations, provided that the role of social values is kept properly distinct from that of cognitive values.