What is science? A historian’s perplexities


What is science? This deceptively straightforward question has no single answer, because science is culturally situated, and so has neither a permanent nor a universal meaning. Because modern scientific practices have different histories, they vary from place to place. The significance of science also changes over time, although current understandings are often misleadingly extended to cover the past. Science continues to change, and the science of the future may well be very different from the science of the present.


science; history; theology; scientist; natural philosophy


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Fara, P., 2009. Science: A 4000 Year History. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

Hobson, J. M., 2004. The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

Knight, D., 2009. The Making of Modern Science: Science, Technology, Medicine and Modernity: 1789-1914. Polity. Cambridge.

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