Scientific Imperialism: Difficulties in Definition, Identification, and Assessment

Abstract

This article identifies and analyses issues related to defining and evaluating the so-called scientific imperialism. It discusses John Dupré's account, suggesting that it is overly conservative and does not offer a definition of scientific imperialism in not presenting it as a phenomenon of interdisciplinarity. It then discusses the recent account by Steve Clarke and Adrian Walsh, taking issue with ideas such as illegitimate occupation, counterfactual progress, and culturally significant values. A more comprehensive and refined framework of my own is then summarized. It suggests types and aspects of scientific imperialism as a dynamic interdisciplinary relationship, distinguishing between imperialism of scope, style and standing, for example. It also suggests normative constraints on scientific imperialism. This enables us to distinguish, in principle, recommendable from non-recommendable kinds of it, while recognizing the difficulties involved in trying to do this in practice

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Uskali Mäki
University of Helsinki

References found in this work

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life.David L. Hull - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):435-438.
Darwin's Dangerous Idea.Daniel C. Dennett - 1996 - Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):169-174.
Human Nature and the Limits of Science.John Dupré - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Economics Imperialism: Concept and Constraints.Uskali Mäki - 2009 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 39 (3):351-380.
Scientific Imperialism and the Proper Relations Between the Sciences.Steve Clarke & Adrian Walsh - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):195-207.

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Citations of this work

Disciplinary Capture and Epistemological Obstacles to Interdisciplinary Research: Lessons From Central African Conservation Disputes.Evelyn Brister - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 56:82-91.
Models on the Move: Migration and Imperialism.Seamus Bradley & Karim P. Y. Thébault - 2019 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 77:81-92.

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