Is Science Neurotic?

Metaphilosophy 33 (3):259-299 (2002)
Abstract
Neurosis can be interpreted as a methodological condition which any aim-pursuing entity can suffer from. If such an entity pursues a problematic aim B, represents to itself that it is pursuing a different aim C, and as a result fails to solve the problems associated with B which, if solved, would lead to the pursuit of aim A, then the entity may be said to be "rationalistically neurotic". Natural science is neurotic in this sense in so far as a basic aim of science is represented to be to improve knowledge of factual truth as such (aim C), when actually the aim of science is to improve knowledge of explanatory truth (aim B). Science does not suffer too much from this neurosis, but philosophy of science does. Much more serious is the rationalistic neurosis of the social sciences, and of academic inquiry more generally. Freeing social science and academic inquiry from neurosis would have far reaching, beneficial, intellectual, institutional and cultural consequences.
Keywords Neurosis of science  Rationalistic neurosis  Irrationality of science
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