Volume 2, Issue 3, 2011
Mark Owen Webb
A Peace Plan for the Science Wars
In what has become known as the ‘Science Wars,’ two sides have emerged. Some philosophers of science have claimed that, because science is a social practice, it is hopelessly infected with political bias. Others have claimed that science is a special kind of practice, structurally immune to bias. They are both right, because they are referring to different things when they use the word ‘science.’ The second group is referring the method of theory selection, as practiced by scientists in the laboratory, while the first group is referring to the ongoing social practice of science, of which theory choice is a part. The scientific method of theory choice, when practiced correctly, is resistant to bias, while the socially embedded practice is particularly sensitive to political forces, and so is subject to bias.