Is Science Neurotic?

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Imperial College Press, 2004 - Education - 240 pages
"Is Science Neurotic? sets out to show that science suffers from a damaging but rarely noticed methodological disease - "rationalistic neurosis." Assumptions concerning metaphysics, human value and politics, implicit in the aims of science, are repressed, and the malaise has spread to affect the whole academic enterprise, with the potential for extraordinarily damaging long-term consequences."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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"This book is bursting with intellectual energy and ambition...[It] provides a good account of issues needing debate. In accessible language, Maxwell articulates many of today's key scientific and social issues...his methodical analysis of topics such as induction and unity, his historical perspective on the Enlightenment, his opinions on string theory and his identification of the most important problems of living are absorbing and insightful." Clare McNiven, Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, No. 3, 2005, p. 89. "Is science neurotic? Yes, says Nicholas Maxwell, and the sooner we acknowledge it and understand the reasons why, the better it will be for academic inquiry generally and, indeed, for the whole of humankind. This is a bold claim … But it is also realistic and deserves to be taken very seriously … My summary in no way does justice to the strength and detail of Maxwell's well crafted arguments … I found the book fascinating, stimulating and convincing … after reading this book, I have come to see the profound importance of its central message." Dr. Mathew Iredale, The Philosopher's Magazine, Issue 31, 2005, pp. 86-87. "… the title Is Science Neurotic? could be rewritten to read Is Academe Neurotic? since this book goes far beyond the science wars to condemn, in large, sweeping gestures, all of modern academic inquiry. The sweeping gestures are refreshing and exciting to read in the current climate of specialised, technical, philosophical writing. Stylistically, Maxwell writes like someone following Popper or Feyerabend, who understood the philosopher to be improving the World, rather than contributing to a small piece of one of many debates, each of which can be understood only by the small number of its participants…. In spite of this, the argument is complex, graceful, and its finer points are quite subtle…. The book's final chapter calls for nothing less than revolution in academia, including the very meaning of academic life and work, as well as a list of the nine most serious problems facing the contemporary world - problems which it is the task of academia to articulate, analyse, and attempt to solve. This chapter sums up what the reader has felt all along: that this is not really a work of philosophy of science, but a work of 'Philosophy', which addresses 'Big Questions' and answers them without hesitation…. I enjoyed the book as a whole for its intelligence, courageous spirit, and refusal to participate in the specialisation and elitism of the current academic climate…. it is a book that can be enjoyed by any intelligent lay-reader. It is a good book to assign to students for these reasons, as well - it will get them thinking about questions like: What is science for? What is philosophy for? Why should we think? Why should we learn? How can academia contribute of the welfare of people? … the feeling with which this book leaves the reader [is] that these are the questions in which philosophy is grounded and which it ought never to attempt to leave behind." Professor Margret Grebowicz, Metascience, 15, 2006, pp. 141-144. "Maxwell's fundamental idea is so obvious that it has escaped notice. But acceptance of the idea requires nothing short of a complete revolution for the disciplines. Science should become more intellectually honest about its metaphysical presuppositions and its involvement in contributing to human value. Following this first step it cures itself of its irrational repressed aims and is empowered to progress to a more civilized world." Professor Leemon McHenry, Review of Metaphysics, March 2006, pp. 657-659. "Maxwell argues that the metaphysical assumptions underlying present-day scientific inquiry, referred to as standard empiricism or SE, have led to ominous irrationality. Hence the alarmingly provocative title; hence also - the argument carries this far - the sad state of the world today. Nor is Maxwell above invoking, as a parallel example to science's besetting 

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About the author (2004)

Nicholas Maxwell has taught Philosophy of Science at University College London for nearly thirty years.

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