This philosopher has done her homework and writes well:
We should expect science to tell us the truth because, by realist lights, this is what science ought to do. Truth – understood as getting things right – is not the aim of science, because it is not what science (or, better, scientists) should aspire to (assuming one has realist leanings). Instead, it is what science ought to do by realist lights. Thus, to judge a scientific theory or model as true is to judge it as one that ‘commands our assent’. Truth, ultimately, is not an aspiration; a desirable (but maybe unachievable) goal; a figment in the mind of the working scientist; or, worse, an insupportable and dispensable burden in scientific research. Truth is a normative commitment inherent in scientific knowledge.
Constructive empiricists, instrumentalists, Jamesian pragmatists, relativists and constructivists do not share the same commitment. They do not share with the realist a suitable notion of ‘rightness’. As an example, compare the normative commitment to get things right with the view of the philosopher Richard Rorty, in whose hands Putnam’s truth as ‘idealised warranted assertibility’ reduces to what is acceptable to ‘us as we should like to be … us educated, sophisticated, tolerant, wet liberals, the people who are always willing to hear the other side, to think out all the implications’. Getting things right is not a norm about us at our best, ‘educated, sophisticated, tolerant, wet liberals’. It is a norm inherent in scientific knowledge. To claim to know something in science (or about a scientific topic or domain) is to claim for the truth of the relevant beliefs about that topic or domain. But, a critic might reply, how can our knowledge – which is perspectival, entrenched in historically and culturally well-defined scientific practices – track the way the world is? How can we be expected to truthfully believe the things we believe in science, despite being situated in a plurality of scientific perspectives? To put it in a different way, how can we – historically and culturally situated epistemic agents – reliably build scientific knowledge over time, despite the possible errors and false steps of past (and current) scientific perspectives?Michela Massimi, “Getting it right” at Aeon
But in a world of intelligent people who believe they are Darwinian animals seeking survival, whose supposed selfish genes unaccountably seek to reproduce themselves, her fine words will not, of course, be any use. Not against the rent-seeking and plunder-seeking assailants in a war on math, and science, squabbling over the carcass. Having wasted the humanities disciplines, as the Sokal hoax on social sciences last year shows, they are moving on into lusher fields of funding.
Science is not only comparatively rich, it is largely undefended. Its bureaucrats are accustomed to bowing to ideological demands from social justice warriors, not resisting them, for reasons of public relations. And at the end of the day, the ‘crat still has a job. That becomes the main thing, just to survive the next politically motivated chop. Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne is a figure of interest because he is slowly learning that. One doesn’tenvy him, learning how his colleagues will behave.
See also: Putting a respectable face on persecuting the social justice science hoaxers
Embattled “Social Sciences Hoax” Prof Is Not A Hero, He’s A Canary
Social Science Hoaxer’s Job At Risk For Revealing “Bias”
Sokal hoaxes strike social science again
Exposing gender studies as a Sokal hoax
Social Science Hoax Papers Is One Of RealClearScience’s Top Junk Science Stories Of 2018
Alan Sokal, Buy Yourself A Latte: “Star Wars” Biology Paper Accepted
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