Welcome to the site of a workshop on the concept of "scientism" organized at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York by Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY-Lehman College), with Maarten Boudry (Ghent University) as a co-organizer. The workshop will take place on May 16 & 17, 2014, and is sponsored by the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the Graduate Center (many thanks to Jesse Prinz for this!).
Rationale: Science is one of the marvels of the human intellect, but nowadays one often hears about a sin called “scientism.” There is no agreed upon definition of the term, but as a first approximation, it describes an exaggerated deference towards science, or unwarranted belief in the superiority and universal applicability of scientific methods. Such worries about the limits of science are not new. With every advance of science into new territory, there have been concerns about its overblown ambitions. Is science endangering other forms of inquiry? Those who stand accused of “scientism” often dismiss the charge as a form of resistance against scientific progress. This symposium aims at exploring the concept of scientism, asking whether the term captures an interesting intellectual position, and whether it is something to worry about. Is it a well-developed position about the (epistemic) superiority of science over other modes of inquiry, or more like an attitude of glowing admiration for science? What, if any, are the potential dangers of scientism? Given the ubiquitous usage of the term “scientism,” in a wide variety of contrasting contexts, we think a philosophical discussions of the concept is long overdue.
Some useful references:
Haack, S. (2008). Putting Philosophy to Work: Inquiry and Its Place in Culture--Essays on Science, Religion, Law, Literature, and Life: Prometheus Books.
Ladyman, J. and D. Ross (2007). Every thing must go: Metaphysics naturalized. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Pigliucci, M. and M. Boudry (Eds.). (2013). Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Project. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.