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Articulating the aims of science

Maxwell, N; (1977) Articulating the aims of science. Nature , 265 (5589) 2 - 2. 10.1038/265002a0. Green open access

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Abstract

Modern science is seriously harmed by a widespread attempt to make science conform to a wholly inadequate philosophy of science— one which misrepresents the basic intellectual aims of science. It is widely taken for granted by scientists that the aim of science is to improve knowledge of factual truth – nothing being presupposed about the truth. But this view is untenable. Quite properly, science aims to improve knowledge, not of truth per se, but rather of valuable truth – truth that is useful or of interest in some way. At once it is clear that the aim of science is problematic, and needs to be subjected to sustained imaginative and critical discussion, in an attempt to improve it. We need to put into scientific practice a new conception of science which recognizes three domains of scientific discussion: evidence, theory and aims.

Type: Article
Title: Articulating the aims of science
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/265002a0
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/265002a0
Language: English
Keywords: aims of science, harmful philosophy of science, science and values, standard empiricism, aim-oriented empiricism, problematic aims of science
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1348860
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