The Elusiveness of Consensus in Science

In this paper, I challenge Laudan's recent attempt to ground the distinctiveness of science in its consensus formation patterns. I argue that Laudan's model is more appropriate to a forensics tournament than to an activity with the complex organizational structure of science. After reviewing several more realistic models of consensus formation, I conclude that there is no reason to think that any strong sense of consensus of belief is ever present in science, though there have been periods such as the eighteenth century, when various beliefs could find expression in a common scientific language of Newtonian mechanics
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