Science Wars, Scientism, and Think Tanks
A Précis of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (2nd edition) (Pigliucci 2018)
Keywords:Pseudoscience, Demarcation problem, Scientism, Think Tanks, Virtue epistemology
The present contribution offers a précis of the second edition of Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk (Pigliucci 2018). The aim of the book is to explore the complex landscape populated by science, pseudoscience, and everything in between, what in philosophy is known as the “demarcation problem.” However, the author maintains that little progress can be done in public understanding and appreciation of science unless we also explore the historical, sociological and psychological motivations that lead people to believe in “nonsense on stilts.” Further, it is incumbent on scientists and science educators to act “virtuously” whenever dealing with pseudoscientific claims, an effort that may be greatly helped by the adoption of a virtue epistemological approach, analogous to virtue ethics in moral philosophy.
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