Originally broadcast: May 13, 2012
For thousands of years, people have looked to science to reveal the truth about nature – to conquer it or to discover its secrets. But there are others who think that this approach is deeply mistaken. Science, they say, tells us about our culture and reveals the ideas we bring to the laboratory. Is there such a thing as objectivity or does science just describe what we ourselves bring into the laboratory? On this episode of WHY? we are going to examine these questions and wade deep into what some philosophers call “the science wars.”
Jan Golinski is Professor of History and Humanities at the University of New Hampshire where he teaches the history of European sciences since the Renaissance. He has published articles on the history of chemistry, on problems of method in the history of science, and on the social history of science in Britain in the long eighteenth century. He is the author of three books, Science as Public Culture: Chemistry and Enlightenment in Britain, 1760-1820, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science, and British Weather and the Climate of Enlightenment.