Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Who Rules in Science?

Who Rules in Science?

An Opinionated Guide to the Wars

James Robert Brown

ISBN 9780674013643

Publication date: 03/30/2004

What if something as seemingly academic as the so-called science wars were to determine how we live?

This eye-opening book reveals how little we've understood about the ongoing pitched battles between the sciences and the humanities--and how much may be at stake. James Brown's starting point is C. P. Snow's famous book, Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, which set the terms for the current debates. But that little book did much more than identify two new, opposing cultures, Brown contends: It also claimed that scientists are better qualified than nonscientists to solve political and social problems. In short, the true significance of Snow's treatise was its focus on the question of who should rule--a question that remains vexing, pressing, and politically explosive today.

In Who Rules in Science? Brown takes us through the various engagements in the science wars--from the infamous "Sokal affair" to angry confrontations over the nature of evidence, the possibility of objectivity, and the methods of science--to show how the contested terrain may be science, but the prize is political: Whoever wins the science wars will have an unprecedented influence on how we are governed.

Brown provides the most comprehensive and balanced assessment yet of the science wars. He separates the good arguments from the bad, and exposes the underlying message: Science and social justice are inextricably linked. His book is essential reading if we are to understand the forces making and remaking our world.

Praise

  • This is a wonderful book: funny, learned, intelligent, strong-minded. In a clear and understanding fashion, James Robert Brown introduces us to the battles over the nature of science. He is never afraid to make judgements, yet always with appreciation of people's positions, however extreme. If you read only one book on the "Science Wars," read this. My only regret is that Who Rules in Science? is not longer.

    —Michael Ruse, Florida State University

Author

  • James Robert Brown is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto.

Book Details

  • 256 pages
  • 5-9/16 x 8-5/8 inches
  • Harvard University Press

Recommendations