Call for Abstracts: CUNY Workshop on Scientism
The Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York will host a workshop on the topic of “scientism”: what is it, what impact has it had, and should we embrace or reject it? A full description of the event and list of participants can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/scientismworkshop/home. We are inviting submission of abstracts for contributed papers to be presented at the Graduate Center on May 16-17, 2014 alongside the invited papers. If interested, please send a title, affiliation and abstract of no more than 300 words to massimo@platofootnote,org, no later than April 20.
Rationale: Science is one of the marvels of the human intellect, but nowadays one often hears about a sin called “scientism.” There is no agreed upon definition of the term, but as a first approximation, it describes an exaggerated deference towards science, or unwarranted belief in the superiority and universal applicability of scientific methods. Such worries about the limits of science are not new. With every advance of science into new territory, there have been concerns about its overblown ambitions. Is science endangering other forms of inquiry? Those who stand accused of “scientism” often dismiss the charge as a form of resistance against scientific progress. This symposium aims to explore the concept of scientism, asking whether the term captures an interesting intellectual position, and whether it is something to worry about. Is it a well-developed position about the (epistemic) superiority of science over other modes of inquiry, or more like an attitude of glowing admiration for science? What, if any, are the potential dangers of scientism? Given the ubiquitous usage of the term “scientism,” in a wide variety of contrasting contexts, we think a philosophical discussions of the concept is long overdue.