Theory Gang
18. Imperial Empiricism w/ Michael Strevens

18. Imperial Empiricism w/ Michael Strevens

The authority and definition of science

I wish I could remember which of you recommended The Knowledge Machine to me because talking with its author Michael Strevens was the most pleasant serendipity. I had his book on my desk when I logged into the National Academy of Science’s committee on misinformation and saw his smiling face.  Around 24:28  minutes in Strevens says science COULD NEVA be totalitarian and Idk if this is true.  I think this depends mainly on the definition of science. Reductionist science as it stands could not but a mutated Swiss Army knife kind of thing, could do some damage, and honestly, this is my worry about labeling complexity as a science.  However, talking with people like Erik gives me some assurance since he admits that science may always be incomplete. I think the reductionist scientists are a bit more ignorant about these dangers than those who are studying complexity, but both have enough hubris to think they can do better. 

I also feel like a big chunk of the episode was Strevens and I going back and forth on our scientific/existential/philosophical anxieties. I’m not complaining.  It was great.  He was incredibly easy to talk to and is one of those kinds of academics that makes me miss being on campus. I hope our conversation brings you as much fun as it did me!

Time Stamps

This BIg Nerve Question:

What could be some unexplored misconceptions about science that need to be rectified to enhance its value?

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