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Is Science Neurotic?

Maxwell, Nicholas (2002) Is Science Neurotic? UNSPECIFIED.

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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.

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Item Type: Other
Maxwell, Nicholas
Additional Information: An expanded version of this paper has been published as a book, namely: Nicholas Maxwell, "Is Science Neurotic?" (Imperial College Press, London, December 2004)
Keywords: physics, natural science, social science, psychoanalysis, neurosis, scientific method, rationality, academic inquiry, metaphysics, values,
Subjects: General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Values In Science
General Issues > Science Policy
Depositing User: Nicholas Maxwell
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2005
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2010 15:13
Item ID: 2386
Public Domain: No

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