Friday, September 27, 2013

History and Philosophy of Science

The current AGW debate (new 2013 IPCC report versus skeptical community embodied in NIPCC and mirrors the dynamic described in Leviathan and the Vacuum pump: two groups of men, both claiming to create knowledge and decide what is true for the rest of society.  One is composed of men of authority and credentials, the other composed of coffee-shop debaters and home-experimentalists.  In the 1600's,  the powerful men created knowledge to bolster the monarchy, while they feared the upstart debaters as crypto-revolutionaries.  Today, powerful scientists create knowledge to create societal demand for their power and knowledge, while they fear the "deniers".

(I first read Leviathan and the Vacuum Pump (about Hobbes' and Boyle's argument) in a History of Science course with Dr. Andre Wakefield at the Clarement Colleges.)

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