This guest post by Richard Russell, with input from Arthur Jones, looks at the way scientific knowledge grows out of philosophical and ultimately religious roots.
'Science' means 'knowledge' according to its Latin root, and that is what the pursuit of science is popularly supposed to deliver.
Richard Vytniorgu argues that to recognise our position in a "dynamic ecosystem" of knowing is to recognise the reciprocal nature of scientific understanding – even, perhaps, that it is made possible by One whose knowledge surpasses all understanding.
Richard Vytniorgu develops his exposition of a view of scientific progress that recognises the very creaturely nature of our existence. There's no view from nowhere: scientists, like everyone else, are in the midst of the cocktail party of history!
Richard Vytniorgu introduces a way of thinking about scientific work by rooting it in its social context.
This is the first in a series of three posts in which I introduce the transactional approach to doing science – an approach which encourages us to position scientific work within a broader matrix of beliefs and values. Although I’m not a scientist, my work in literary theory has brought me into contact with the transactional approach via its American advocate in literary studies and English education, Louise Rosenblatt.
Bruno Medeiros, a social psychologist at Cambridge, reflects on the importance of being deeply attentive to the world that we study.
“Help make better places” is the strap line of my department. It’s fairly good as far as strap lines go, and is reflected in the goals of many of our students. It recognises that the cities and habitats we live in at the moment are far from perfect, but does so without diminishing the hope that we can improve both our situation and those of others.
The most common reaction I get when I tell people I am an archaeologist is, ‘I always wanted to be an archaeologist when I was little!’ Since most people have left that dream behind and found more useful things to do, I sometimes find myself pondering why it is worthwhile to engage in archaeology.