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Rehg admirably takes the science wars to a new level

Thomas J. Farrell (Professor Emeritus based at the Department of Writing Studies, University of Minnesota Dulith, Dulith, Minnesota, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 28 September 2010




The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to discuss certain key issues involved in the science wars; second, to review William Rehg's Cogent Science in Context: The Science Wars, Argumentation Theory, and Habermas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, Cambridge, 2009).


In accord with the genre of a review paper, the author sets the larger intellectual context of Rehg's book, and then highlights Rehg's book.


The findings suggest that Rehg has done an excellent job of explaining and expanding Habermas's argumentation theory, thereby working out a nonrelativist and nonskeptical framework for science studies (e.g. science and technology studies, studies in the sociology of scientific knowledge, and ethnomethodological studies of scientific work). However, the present author's findings also suggest that Rehg has not addressed the concerns of Protestant fundamentalists in the science wars as strongly as those concerns can be addressed. In addition, the present author's findings show that Rehg is silent about those academic critics in the science wars who criticize scientism in the pejorative sense of the term.


In the final analysis, Rehg's use of Habermas's argumentation theory is credited with offering rich implications for taking the science wars to a new level of sophistication.



Farrell, T.J. (2010), "Rehg admirably takes the science wars to a new level", On the Horizon, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 337-345.



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