Synthese

pp 1–22 | Cite as

Who is afraid of scientific imperialism?

Article

Abstract

In recent years, several authors have debated about the justifiability of so-called scientific imperialism. To date, however, widespread disagreements remain regarding both the identification and the normative evaluation of scientific imperialism. In this paper, I aim to remedy this situation by making some conceptual distinctions concerning scientific imperialism and by providing a detailed assessment of the most prominent objections to it. I shall argue that these objections provide a valuable basis for opposing some instances of scientific imperialism, but do not yield cogent reasons to think that scientific imperialism in general is objectionable or unjustified. I then highlight three wide-ranging implications of this result for the ongoing philosophical debate about the justifiability of scientific imperialism.

Keywords

Scientific imperialism Disciplinary autonomy Disunity of science Scientific progress Epistemic justification Pragmatic justification 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank J. McKenzie Alexander, Cristina Bicchieri, Stephen Downes, Uskali Mäki, Wendy Parker, Adrian Walsh, Petri Ylikoski and two anonymous referees for their comments on previous versions of this paper. I also benefited from the observations of audiences at the University of Mainz, the Finnish Centre of Excellence (Helsinki), the University of Durham, the University of Lausanne, the University of Pistoia, the University of Pennsylvania, and the 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.London School of EconomicsLondonUK
  3. 3.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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