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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 29, Issue 2, 2019

Philosophy in an Age of Crisis, Part II

Małgorzata Czarnocka
Pages 217-238

How Is Science Universal?

I investigate the universality of science as perceived in epistemological conceptions and in sociology of science, as well as claims about the anti-universal character of science. In this, I distinguish two kinds of universality of science: epistemic and global cultural/social, and in the latter also the global universality of the basic level of science. I attempt to show that epistemology views science as universal in its basic aspects relating to knowledge, its object, subject and cognitive values as well as methods, which, according to the epistemological meta-theses, are necessary for scientific validity and autonomy. I also draw attention to the fact that sociologised, multiculturally-oriented approaches to science are wrong to hold it for irrevocably anti-universal and exclusively a part of Western culture. I suggest instead the perspective of basic-level global universalism, where science is seen to grow out of a cultural base common to all cultures, which provides the criteria for weak rationality, weak empiricism and methodology and determines the nomological character of cognition. Finally, I trace the evolution of universality from a property of science to a value, and ask about the meaning of this property-cum-value for the human world.

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