Cosmology and the End of Weberian Science

  • Genco Guralp
Part of the Technikzukünfte, Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft / Futures of Technology, Science and Society book series (TEWG)


The 2011 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to two teams which, working independently, confirmed the striking fact that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. For many cosmologists, this prize marked another major point in the chain of successful results cosmology obtained in its relatively short history of being an experimental science. In fact, modern cosmology prides itself for becoming a “precision science,” breaking sharply with its “speculative” past. I analyze this experimental turn in cosmology and examine different forms of interdisciplinary transgressions that this epistemic shift is built on. I propose that these transgressions that cosmology engenders in the process of establishing its scientific legitimacy attests to the fact that a crucial aspect of the way scientific knowledge is usually characterized is being challenged today. This characterization, which found, as I argue, one of its best conceptualizations in Weber’s classic Wissenschaft als Beruf , is summarized in his famous “disenchantment” thesis proposing that there exists a sharp boundary between the questions under the jurisdiction of science and the questions of “meaning” (such as theology), which science refuses to answer. I argue that, as the current practice of cosmology confronts this boundary, the assumptions pertinent to the social and epistemic contexts within which scientific knowledge comes into existence will also be put into question, which is what we witness in the case of modern cosmology.


Cosmology Interdisciplinarity Boundary transgressions Weberian science Methodology 


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BaltimoreUSA

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