03 February 2010

Book Review: "Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning"


Science as Salvation: A Modern Myth and its Meaning is a fantastic book about the development of science and its advancement in Western culture. It contains a lot of deep and thought provoking discussions on the position science holds in current Western culture, and its metaphysical and epistemological nature.

In particular, it looks at the notion of science as a societal, cultural, and even spiritual force, a notion that is sometimes thrust onto science and perpetuated by certain science writers. To some, the building of this notion tends towards using science as part of a myth constructed by people to shape and understand how to live in an age of an over abundance of information; perhaps it even seems to be displacing the role of religion.

Neither entirely anti-science nor pro-science, Midgley presents a nuanced view of the interaction of science, religion, and society. Midgley encourages a rethinking of the role and importance of science, and its relationship to how we live and how we ought to decide to live.

On the whole, this is a book I recommend on the philosophy of science and society. I also recommend reading this in conjunction with Barbour's Religion and Science (Gifford Lectures Series), which I will be reviewing as well.

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