Naturalizing or demythologizing scientific inquiry: Kitcher’s: Science, truth and democracy

Philosophy of the Social Sciences 34 (3):408-422 (2004)
, Philip Kitcher has argued that science ought to meet both the epistemic goals of significant truth and the nonepistemic goals of serving the interests of a democratic society. He opposes this science as servant model to both the theology of science as source of salvific truth and the theology of science as anti-Christ. In a recent critical comment, Paul A. Roth argues that Kitcher remains entangled in the theology of salvific truth, not realizing that its goal is either vacuous or unattainable. Instead of theologies, Roth proposes demythologization. In the end, science attains neither truth nor value, for these goals are incomprehensible and unattainable. Consequently, science’s goals are entirely pedestrian and without special interest. Adopting Kitcher’s own scientific naturalistic epistemology, the author argues for a naturalized theology of science, using a science as mediator model, in which both nature and scientist have a role in the acquisition of significant truth. Key Words: epistemic values • Kitcher • nonepistemic values • Roth • science and values • scientific realism • scientific truth.
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DOI 10.1177/0048393104266440
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