quote for today

i just wanted to put a little bit o' philosophy of science up here for today. meesch, some of this goes back to what we're talking about with perspective--are there absolute perspectives (in other words, can any one person have a claim to knowing the Truth). Michael Ruse is dealing with this issue in the philosophy of science. Here's an excerpt from a book of his I like a lot that may speak a little toward this problem. "My point therefore is that two different debates have been confused. There is the old philosophical debate about realism/nonrealism. Nothing inferred from the history of science can speak directly to this. ... Then there is the new debates about standards and culture. Is science something special on its own, separate from other disciplines and from its pretenders? And is this difference in part (or whole) because science is subject to certain demanding standards, against which its successes are measured? Are these standards such that we would speak of science as 'objective,' meaning beyond the individual's whims? Perhaps, if you are adding some pragmatic dimension, such as enabling us to put men on the moon or to cure childhood cancers or to vaporize thousands of Japanese. And is science beyond culture? Or must we still speak of science as 'subjective,' meaning that, because of its cultural impregnation, if it pleases you I have no grounds to criticize? The history of science does speak to this debate. And its answer, obtained within the context of our story, is as follows: It is true that science is special, and this is because of its standards; the critics were wrong in arguing otherwise. But it is also true that science is not special, and this is because of its culture; the defenders were wrong in arguing otherwise." --Michael Ruse. Mystery of mysteries: is evolution a social contruction?, 1999. pp.255


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