The Natural Sciences and Public Policy: Insights from the History and the Philosophy of Science
Because Chap. 1 notes Lucian Pye’s observation that the social sciences were worshipping that “strangely distorted and graven image of science,” this chapter examines the central debates associated with the history and philosophy of science to shed light on that image. The discussion compares the views of various philosophers of science concerning the nature of the scientific enterprise focusing on three interrelated issues. These include the extent to which scientific ideas are cumulative, the extent of their objectivity and the degree they can be divorced from norms and the broader social context. The discussion covers the important ideas of scholars like Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos, Thomas Kuhn and Stephen Toulmin.