Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 569–575

Scientism and Pseudoscience: A Philosophical Commentary


DOI: 10.1007/s11673-015-9665-1

Cite this article as:
Pigliucci, M. Bioethical Inquiry (2015) 12: 569. doi:10.1007/s11673-015-9665-1


The term “scientism” is used in a variety of ways with both negative and positive connotations. I suggest that some of these uses are inappropriate, as they aim simply at dismissing without argument an approach that a particular author does not like. However, there are legitimate negative uses of the term, which I explore by way of an analogy with the term “pseudoscience.” I discuss these issues by way of a recent specific example provided by a controversy in the field of bioethics concerning the value, or lack thereof, of homeopathy. I then frame the debate about scientism within the broader context of C.P. Snow’s famous essay on the “two cultures.”


Scientism Pseudoscience Two cultures Homeopathy 

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe City College of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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