What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Updated 23 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Why Trust Science? by Naomi Oreskes

Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? 

Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? 

In this landmark book, Naomi Oreskes offers a bold and compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength — and the greatest reason we can trust it, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Tracing the history and philosophy of science from the late 19th century to today, Oreskes explains that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. 

Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect, but she draws vital lessons from cases where scientists got it wrong. Oreskes shows how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.

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What We Are Reading Today: The World Philosophy Made by Scott Soames

Updated 20 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The World Philosophy Made by Scott Soames

Philosophical investigation is the root of all human knowledge. Developing new concepts, reinterpreting old truths, and reconceptualizing fundamental questions, philosophy has progressed — and driven human progress — for more than two millennia. 

In short, we live in a world philosophy made. In this concise history of philosophy’s world-shaping impact, Scott Soames demonstrates that the modern world— including its science, technology, and politics— simply would not be possible without the accomplishments of philosophy.

Firmly rebutting the misconception of philosophy as ivory-tower thinking, Soames traces its essential contributions to fields as diverse as law and logic, psychology and economics, relativity and rational decision theory. Beginning with the giants of ancient Greek philosophy, The World Philosophy Made chronicles the achievements of the great thinkers, from the medieval and early modern eras to the present. 

It explores how philosophy has shaped our language, science, mathematics, religion, culture, morality, education, and politics, as well as our understanding of ourselves.

Philosophy’s idea of rational inquiry as the key to theoretical knowledge and practical wisdom has transformed the world in which we live. From the laws that govern society to the digital technology that permeates modern life, philosophy has opened up new possibilities and set us on more productive paths. The World Philosophy Made explains and illuminates as never before the inexhaustible richness of philosophy and its influence on our individual and collective lives.