Scientific Imperialism: Exploring the Boundaries of Interdisciplinarity, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Scientific Imperialism

Exploring the Boundaries of Interdisciplinarity, 1st Edition

Edited by Uskali Mäki, Adrian Walsh, Manuela Fernández Pinto


322 pages

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pub: 2017-10-13
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The growing body of research on interdisciplinarity has encouraged a more in depth analysis of the relations that hold among academic disciplines. In particular, the incursion of one scientific discipline into another discipline’s traditional domain, also known as scientific imperialism, has been a matter of increasing debate.

Following this trend, Scientific Imperialism aims to bring together philosophers of science and historians of science interested in the topic of scientific imperialism and, in particular, interested in the conceptual clarification, empirical identification, and normative assessment of the idea of scientific imperialism. Thus, this innovative volume has two main goals. Indeed, the authors first seek to understand interdisciplinary relations emerging from the incursion of one scientific discipline into one or more other disciplines, such as in cases in which the conventions and procedures of one discipline or field are imposed on other fields; or more weakly when a scientific discipline seeks to explain phenomena that are traditionally considered proper of another discipline’s domain. Secondly, the authors explore ways of distinguishing imperialistic from non-imperialistic interactions between disciplines and research fields.

The first sustained study of scientific imperialism,this volume will appeal to postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in fields such as Science and Technology Studies, Sociology of Science & Technology, Philosophy of Science, and History of Science.


I recommend this book to historians and philosophers who are interested in scientific imperialism, but also to those studying interdisciplinarity, philosophy of economics, and epistemic injustice. Scholars of naturalized epistemology and philosophers of mind might also have use for some contributions, especially those of Ferna´ndez Pinto and Janssen-Lauret. Scientists who want to conduct good interdisciplinary research can obtain some informative guidance from both the philosophical and historical contributions.

William Peden, Metascience, Springer Nature 2018

Table of Contents

Introduction: Core Issues on Scientific Imperialism. Uskali Mäki, Adrian Walsh, and Manuela Fernández Pinto

Part I. A Philosophical Framing for Scientific Imperialism

1. Scientific Imperialism, Folk Morality and the Proper Boundaries of Disciplines. Adrian Walsh and Sandy Boucher

2. Disciplinary Emotions in Interdisciplinary Interaction. Mikko Salmela and Uskali Mäki

3. Scientific Imperialism and Epistemic Injustice. Kristina Rolin

4. Ethical Implications of Scientific Imperialism: Two Examples from Economics. Patricia Marino

Part II. Historical Origins of Scientific Imperialism

5. Scientific Imperialism or Merely Boundary Crossing? Economists, Lawyers, and the Coase Theorem at the Dawn of the Economic Analysis of Law. Steven Medema

6. Rational Choice as Neo-Decisionism: Decision-Making in Political Science and Economics after 1945. Nicolas Guilhot and Alain Marciano

7. Economics Imperialism Reconsidered. Sonja Amadae

8. Crossing Boundaries, Displacing Previous Knowledge and Claiming Superiority: Is The Economics of Discrimination a Conquest of Economics Imperialism? Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche

Part III. Scientific Imperialism in the Making: Case Analyses

9. Scientific Subordination, Molecular Biology and Systems Biology. Miles MacLeod

10. Against Neuroscience Imperialism. Roberto Fumagalli

11. Scientific Imperialism and Explanatory Appeals to Evolution in the Social Sciences. Steve Downes

12. Logical Form, the First Person, and Naturalism about Psychology: The Case against Physicalist Imperialism. Frederique Janssen-Lauret

13. Is the Behavioral Approach a Form of Scientific Imperialism? An Analysis of Law and Policy. Magdalena Małecka and Robert Lepenies

14. Imperializing Epistemology: Shortcomings of the Naturalistic Turn in Philosophy of Science. Manuela Fernández Pinto

15. Imperialism and Its Discontents: Competing Cultures of Evidence in the Discovery of Dark Energy. Genco Guralp


About the Editors

Uskali Mäki is an Academy Professor at the University of Helsinki, Finland and Director of the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Sciences

Adrian Walsh is Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England, Australia

Manuela Fernández Pinto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society

Books in this series consider social science aspects of science studies. Authors discuss how science is socially situated and mediated, how science and technology are shaped by society and society by science and technology. Books will consider the social impact of new technologies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General