Trite Observations on the Dangers of Scientism

I used to be a bit of an economic imperialist, believing many or even most questions could be answered adequately enough with an economist’s toolkit. I still am, to a certain respect, still believing that good sociology(and a large portion of good work done by other social sciences) is just economics in disguise. There’s usually a rigorousness to the thinking that I appreciate. If you want some mushy-headed social science work, check out some of the older work done on sex work, especially those produced by radical feminists*.

There’s a danger though on how the limits of human knowledge, understanding, and impartiality can color the sort of work that most would deem well within the realm of proper scientific inquiry. This can be considered feature, not a bug, in fact. Science is about testing and retesting, reaffirming or disconfirming, sometimes, long-held positions. This also means that there will be dead ends. Dead ends in science are inevitable, and that’s okay.

There’s, however, an even greater danger when tools of science start sniffing along the border of that Third Category, unbounded by the chains of normal human conscience and ethics. All it takes is faulty assumptions and one can allow, advocate, and demand all manner of disgustingly subhuman behavior.


Trite Observations Spurred on by the Following:

How to Be Reasonable

Does Ethical Theory Still Exist?

Does the Is-Ought Divide Make Atrocities More Palatable?



*I do not use this term lightly or mistakenly.

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