Cover: Science under Fire: Challenges to Scientific Authority in Modern America, from Harvard University PressCover: Science under Fire in HARDCOVER

Science under Fire

Challenges to Scientific Authority in Modern America

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Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674987913

Publication Date: 12/08/2020


368 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


An exceptionally well-written, detail-rich treatment of anti-science attitudes in the United States over the past century… Jewett reveals that the sprawling, wheeling sweep of his historical study is the argument: there is no single or stable ideology of anti-science… [He] starts and ends by talking about climate denialism, anti-vax, and COVID lockdown skepticism.—Donovan O. Schaefer, Isis

Tackles the deep and persistent American intellectual tradition we might call Science-hesitant… It takes them seriously, arguing their vision was no less ‘modern’ for ranking Science lower than other human values, such as religious faith… A sweeping tour of a vast array of intellectual trends… The challenges to the authority of Science in this book are less episodes in the history of American science than episodes in the history of American religion, and readers drawn to those questions will find much to interest them here.—Michael D. Gordin, Los Angeles Review of Books

The continued politicization of science is rooted in the discomfort that many still feel about the banishment of ethics, humanistic values, and religion from much of public policy. Jewett’s book reminds us that this tension has a long history and that we should remain attentive to what is gained and lost as science continues to dominate how we understand the world and our place in it.—Christopher J. Phillips, Science

Erudite and truly original. Jewett explains why so many cultural leaders came to deplore the increasing incursions of science into the realm of values, especially after World War II. A pioneering book.—Ronald L. Numbers, author of The Creationists

Jewett has thoroughly scoured the wide field of American intellectual discourse to find the misgivings, fears, and doubts aroused by the growth and influence of science. Science under Fire is strikingly relevant to pressing present-day concerns. I know of nothing else quite like it.—Howard Brick, author of Transcending Capitalism

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Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene