chapter  3
Demarcation disputes
Pages 10

In the case of democracy, people are profiting from the stupendous spadework of the Athenians and the great Enlightenment thinkers. In the case of science, people owe a lot to Aristotle, but the immense depth of modern veneration and confidence, centring all on physics, comes from Descartes. People who have a specially strong faith in science - expressed by speaking of the 'omnicompetence of science' and claiming that it is the sole legitimate intellectual method open to humanity - are not themselves merely talking science. Unspoken attitudes to what physical science ought to be are very powerful, not much of them is articulated. Officially the business of science is taken to be simple - the establishment of 'objective' facts which look the same to everybody. The attitude sometimes called 'scientism' - a general veneration for the idea of science, detached from any real understanding of its methods - is at present extremely powerful.