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Abstract
or reasons that seem to transcend cultural peculiarities, and may lie deep within the architecture of the human mind, we construct our descriptive taxonomies and tell our explanatory stories as dichotomies, or contrasts between inherently distinct and logically opposite alternatives. Standard epitomes for the history and social impact of science have consistently followed this preferred scheme, although the chosen names and stated aims of the battling armies have changed with the capricious winds of fashion and the evolving norms of scholarship—as in scientific novelty versus permanent wisdom in the founding 17th-century debate of "moderns" (the empirical method for gaining new knowledge) versus "ancients" (Greek and Roman perfection)[1]; science versus religion in a favorite trope of late 19th-century secularism[2]; and the sciences versus the humanities in the icon for the second half of the 20th century, C. P. Snow's "two cultures"[3].
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