A surprising examination of our understanding of science.
“Science is a swashbuckling book. Fuller’s formidable scholarship takes no prisoners”. Nature
What qualifies such seemingly disparate disciplines as paleontology, high-energy physics, industrial chemistry, and genetic engineering as “sciences”, and hence worthy of sustained public interest and support? In this innovative and controversial introduction to the social character of scientific knowledge, Steve Fuller argues that if these disciplines share anything at all, it is more likely the way they strategically misinterpret their own history rather than any privileged access to the nature of reality.
Science features a report written in the persona of a Martian anthropologist who systematically compares religious and scientific institutions on Earth, only to find that science does not necessarily live up to its own ideals of rationality. Fuller highlights science’s multicultural nature through a discussion of episodes in which the West’s own perception of science has been decisively affected by its encounters with islam and Japan. Through this analysis we come to understand that science’s most attractive feature — its openness to criticism — is threatened by the role it increasingly plays in the maintenance of social and economic order.