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ISSN: 1918-4484

Whither Science? - Science and what Has Become of its Method (1):
Origins of Science and Official Science

by Correa, Paulo N. & Correa, Alexandra N.
Aurora Biophysics Research Institute

J Sci Polit Thought, Volume 1, Issue 1 (November 2008),  pp. 1-22

Article ID:   JSPT01-01-01

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In the first of a three part series of essays on the nature and method of science, we relate the commencement of science to the animistic knowledge of savage societies, and the origins of Official Science as a Royal Science to the perversion of shamanism and the emergence of State societies. Official Science, however, will not gain autonomy until its separation from religion. The figure of Galileo Galilei is pivotal in bringing about this separation, and the event in turn introduces a new relationship between scientific investigation and Official Science. In effect, the separation of Official science from religion owes its impetus to the differentiation of an independent eccentric science that goes back to Anaxagoras and pre-Socratic Greek thought. It deployed aesthetic and ethical principles that congealed, in Galileo's work, into the enunciation and practice of the scientific method.

Science as an honest, self-corrective process of open inquiry is entirely an eccentric practice. It created a process of reasoning that was not dependent upon the designs of Power, or upon superstition, the passivity of feelings or apriori notions of common sense. It created a reason that could affect nature, that had discovered its method as a path to action - action upon nature and upon itself: a reason that could be put at the service of life. But this only deepened the crevasse between eccentric science and Royal Science, the latter constantly plundering the former to impose its axioms of significance, and limit its discoveries with dogmas.