Science Studies Workshop on Scientism May 16 & 17

Science Studies Workshop on Scientism May 16 & 17

A Workshop on Scientism will take place on May 16 & 17, 2014, sponsored by the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the Graduate Center, and organized by Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY-Lehman College), with Maarten Boudry (Ghent University).

 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 at exploring 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.

The workshop will take place on the full days of Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17, in the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies’ lounge, CUNY-Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue (at 34th St.), room 5307.

Time slot Author Title notes
Fri 8:30-9 coffee and introductions
Fri 9-10 Maarten Boudry Crazy little thing called scientism
Fri 10-11 Taner Edis Two Cheers for Scientism
Fri 11-12 Lee McIntyre Cargo Cult Scientism
Fri 12-2 lunch break, GC cafeteria (8th floor)
Fri 2-3 Carol Cleland Scientism and the Curious Case of Possible Worlds Semantics
Fri 3-4 Noretta Koertge Scientism and the Role of Philosophers of Science
Fri 4-5 Tom Nickles Strong Realism as Scientism: Are We at the End of History?
Fri 5-6 Rik Peels Scientism and Empirical Arguments against the Reliability of Introspection
Fri evening drinks and dinners in informal groups
Sat 10-10:30 coffee and chatting
Sat 10:30-11:30 Massimo Pigliucci In defense of demarcation projects
Sat 11:30-12:30 Justin Kalef Scientism and the Is/Ought Gap
Sat 12:30-2:00 lunch break, nearby restaurants
Sat 2-3 Deborah Mayo The Science Wars and the Statistics Wars: scientism, popular statistics, and the philosophers
Sat 3-4 Moti Mizrahi What’s so bad about scientism?
Sat 4-5 Don Ross Is “Is economics a science?” a good question? A case study in the institutional dynamics of demarcation
Sat 5-6 Mariam Thalos Does Science leave any knowledge area untouched?