Five Ways That Science is Culture

Umair Haque, Medium, Feb 25, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I studied the history and philosophy of science for many years and, of course, have been a practicing researcher since 2001. This gives me a good perspective on Umair Haque's topic, and I would underline what he says. It's accurate. Where does culture intervene in science (and especially education)?

  • assigning people into groups (national, racial, social) to study
  • our choice of variables, such as 'intelligence' or 'skills'
  • our description of 'all other things being equal' (aka ceteris paribus)
  • the conditions (of, say, 'success') we use to test our hypothesis
  • the correspondence between sample and population

In all, Haque summarizes, " Categories, variables, conditions, tests — no matter how 'hard'” the science we are doing is, these will contain values and judgments, which are cultural assumptions."

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