William Whewell: Dramaturge of Science, Steve Fuller

What follows is the English original of my Chinese introduction to the main account of the life, work and times of William Whewell: Richard Yeo, Defining Science: William Whewell, Natural Knowledge and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain (Cambridge University Press, 1993). The book is part of a series of books being published by the Chinese Compilation and Translation Bureau on social epistemology and its prehistory. The translator of this book, Yao Yaxin, also translated my first book Social Epistemology into Chinese, the new introduction to which can be found in English here. The choice of Whewell as a precursor of social epistemology is interesting and even shrewd for reasons brought out in the introduction. … [please read below the introduction].

Image credit: Cambridge University Press

Article Citation:

Fuller, Steve. 2023. “Introduction to Defining Science: William Whewell, Natural Knowledge and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain by Richard Yeo.” Translated into Chinese by Yao Yaxin. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 12 (8): 12–20. https://wp.me/p1Bfg0-80o.

🔹 The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers.

For Reference:

❦ Fuller, Steve. 2019. “Preface to the Chinese Edition of Social Epistemology. Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 8 (6): 38-43.

1. Whewell’s Task: Writing the ‘Scientist’ into the World-Historic Narrative

William Whewell (1794-1866) was the person most responsible in the English-speaking world for crafting the social role of the scientist. Of course, ‘science’ as the systematic pursuit of knowledge for its own sake had existed since ancient times. In this earlier form, people from many walks of life—and with various sorts of training—claimed to pursue science. But for that very reason, it proved difficult to establish the reliability and validity of their findings. To be sure, there have always been bodies of knowledge, much of which we would now include as ‘scientific’, that were accepted and applied by a wide range of people in many places for a long time. However, the legitimacy of such knowledge had less to do with any formal testing of its claims than with the religious and political authorities that gave it their stamp of approval. A good case in point is Aristotle’s ascendancy in Christendom in the thirteenth century, which was in direct response to Aristotle’s centrality to the worldview promoted by Christianity’s Muslim rivals. In this context, the leading Roman Catholic Church philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, worried less about the empirical accuracy of Aristotle’s observations than ensuring that Christianity provided a better interpretation of them than Islam.

The ‘Scientific Revolution’, a phrase from the 1930s to refer to events that began three centuries earlier, was about the overturning of this entire sensibility towards science. Seventeenth century Europe paved the way for an alternative understanding of the history of science, which made obvious the need for the ‘scientist’ as a distinct social role capable of justifying its knowledge claims on its own terms. It was Whewell who scripted this needed role of the ‘scientist’, which had been intimated in Francis Bacon’s 1620 essay, Novum Organon, nowadays read as the first modern work on the scientific method. For this reason, I describe Whewell as the ‘dramaturge of science’ who turned the scientist into a recognizable character in the human drama. It is easy to overlook the significance of this achievement today, as it has become so much part of the taken-for-granted discourse about science. In that spirit, consider the following familiar yet quite distinctive characterization of the scientist. It epitomizes Whewell’s legacy:

‘Scientists’ primarily refer to natural scientists—and only with hesitation and qualification to social scientists. Scientists are professionally trained and certified in a specific branch of inquiry, the methods and findings of which have been developed over centuries, very much like a tradition of artisan practice. But unlike the purely practical orientation of artisans, science approaches nature through the joint cultivation of observation and interpretation, the products of which are ‘facts’ and ‘theories’. The public conduct of scientists is governed by an obligation to distinguish facts and theories and show the relationship between them, in order to produce general understanding and informed judgement. However, this is not possible without knowing the general principles that ultimately underwrite the facts and theories that one discusses. It follows that engineers should know physics and medical doctors should know biology. These principles also provide the basis for testing the limits of current knowledge claims, which is ultimately how science progresses. Genius in science is less to do with making remarkable discoveries—which often turn out to be not as they seem—than with drawing together seemingly disparate yet established findings under a common theoretical framework that both adequately explains them and provides the basis for making new discoveries in the future. In this respect, Isaac Newton is the paradigm case of the ‘scientist’.

The innovative nature of the above characterization of science is best appreciated when contrasted with related developments in France and Germany at the time. France had a broad category of savant, which covered someone of considerable learning, regardless of profession. For example, the Enlightenment philosophes were savants in this sense, even though they thrived outside of academia and typically without possessing formal certification in the fields where they contested academic judgement. Moreover, while the French language had names for scientific specialties and their trained practitioners, it lacked a general name for all such specialists, which would clearly distinguish them from ‘mere’ savants. Germany presented a somewhat different situation. The all-purpose German term for systematic inquiry, Wissenschaft, made ‘scientific’ virtually synonymous with ‘academic’, notwithstanding the vastly different ways that academic disciplines pursued their objects of inquiry. (Recall that both theology and physics were considered Wissenschaften.) Indeed, German distinctions between what we now recognize as ‘natural’ and ‘social’ sciences only emerge towards the end of the nineteenth century, but without privileging the natural over the social sciences, since every academic discipline was entitled to methods appropriate to their respective objects of inquiry.

2. The Scope of Whewell’s Task: The Recovery of Bacon’s Legacy

As Richard Yeo explains in Defining Science, which evaluates Whewell by standards he would have endorsed (i.e., ‘in context’), Francis Bacon was the elephant in the room for any European considering the nature of science in the nineteenth century. Living two centuries before Whewell, Bacon was one of the early masters of English prose. Even today, many regard Bacon as the first English essayist rather than the founder of the scientific method. By profession, Bacon was a lawyer, not a scientist. In fact, he was the personal lawyer (‘Lord Chancellor’) of King James I, one of the most ambitious and visionary monarchs in British history. James inherited both the English and Scottish thrones and envisioned a union (‘United Kingdom’) that would be realized a century later. The great project of his reign, which Bacon supervised, was the first full English translation of the Bible, the so-called ‘King James Version’, which was designed to render the Church of England completely independent of the Church of Rome, which only authorized Bibles in Latin. James also proposed a novel conception of the monarchy as the ‘absolute’ point for resolving intractable disputes, especially at a time when contesting parliamentary factions increasingly threatened public order. Most notoriously, the King’s agents thwarted the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ of Roman Catholic sympathizers to blow up the parliamentary chambers. The UK still celebrates the event in the spirit of irony with firework displays on 5 November as ‘Bonfire Night’. It provided the model for the decidedly unironic US national holiday, Independence Day, which is celebrated on 4 July.

While James’ idea of an absolute monarchy proved influential in European political thought, its applicability in the English context was limited. Indeed, James’ heir Charles I was sentenced to death by Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War, which began twenty years after James died. Nevertheless, Bacon and James were kindred spirits who embarked on an ambitious nation-building strategy that would render the British Isles autonomous from their European neighbors, which shortly thereafter unwittingly provided the template for the United States of America. Here it is worth recalling that in 1776 the US detached itself from what only seventy years earlier had become ‘Great Britain’—all of which was within the living memory of the oldest US founding father, Benjamin Franklin, whose standing as both politician and scientist epitomized the sort of ‘new man’ that Bacon and James envisaged.

Although in subsequent years both the UK and the US have found it in their respective interests to emphasize the ‘age’ of the former and the ‘youth’ of the latter, in fact they were both eighteenth century political innovations, born of seventeenth century dreams. That spirit was exemplified by Bacon’s various proposals for a state-based scientific institution (‘Solomon’s House’) that would both incubate new knowledge and evaluate old knowledge by means that we now associate with the ‘scientific method’. This point was perhaps first seen clearly with hindsight in the 1930s by Boris Hessen, whose notorious ‘Marxist’ historiography of science explained the emergence of Isaac Newton in early modern Europe as the vanguard of British imperialism and its latter-day ‘Americanization’, all sailing under the banner of Bacon’s slogan, ‘Knowledge is power’, starting with the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, ‘Jamestown’ (Virginia) in 1607. Hessen, who was executed in Moscow before the start of the Second World War, presciently anticipated that science and technology would become the main field of geopolitical contestation between Capitalist and Communist states in the Cold War.

William Whewell lived midway in time between James’ and Bacon’s seventeenth century dreams for science and technology and Hessen’s twentieth century historical reckoning. However, Whewell was no mere transitional figure. As I have already suggested, and Yeo explores, the Anglosphere did not immediately benefit from the vision promoted by James and Bacon. Consider the fate of Bacon’s private secretary, Thomas Hobbes, whose very long life extended beyond the end of the English Civil War to the restoration of the monarchy and the founding of the first modern scientific institution, the Royal Society of London, which is often portrayed as the concrete realization of Bacon’s envisaged Solomon’s House. However, as famously recounted by Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer in Leviathan and the Air-Pump (Princeton University Press, 1985). Hobbes was denied membership in the Royal Society for refusing to accept the self-certifying character of the Royal Society’s knowledge validation processes. For Hobbes, in the name of preserving the autonomy of scientific inquiry, the Royal Society’s ‘peer review’ effectively gave its members a rival power base to that of the King. That would have also been his mentor Bacon’s view of the matter.

3. The Task Specified: Reclaiming Bacon from French Constantinianism and English Liberalism

Bacon’s slogan ‘Knowledge is power’ envisaged a monarchy empowered by science to govern in the public good. The monarch would ultimately settle contested knowledge claims in the manner of a judge deciding a trial, whose format would be an experimentum crucis, a forced choice whereby one side wins only if the other side loses. (Karl Popper would later make this idea central to his version of the scientific method.) Hobbes’ striking image of ‘Leviathan’, a secular deity, was much closer than the Royal Society’s peer review to what Bacon had in mind as the arbiter of a society’s knowledge claims. The historical precedent for this Bacon-Hobbes way of thinking was Constantinianism, the doctrine of state-church alignment that Christians struck with the Roman Empire under the rule of Constantine, who converted to their religion in the early fourth century AD. The Roman Emperor thus became defensor fidelis, ‘defender of the faith’, a phrase still used to describe the British monarch. Put superficially, Bacon and Hobbes would replace religion with science as the spiritual authorizer of the decisions of the absolute monarch, who was in turn the ultimate authority—the human delegated to play God.

However, I said ‘put superficially’ because ‘religion’ and ‘science’ were not as clearly distinguished in the Western mind in the seventeenth—or for that matter, the nineteenth—century as they are today. Whewell himself was born into a culture that still allowed easy passage between theology and science, even if over the course of his life theologically based knowledge claims had to bear an ever-greater burden of proof. In any case, regardless of how religious or secular you were, you were expected to undergo ‘trials of faith’, ones in which laboratory experiments played an increasing role in Whewell’s lifetime. This is very much how Bacon would have wanted it. But as Whewell well understood, the UK was not the European leader in realizing the Baconian vision in its social-epistemological entirety. It was France. The failed 1789 French Revolution enabled the restored monarchy under Napoleon Bonaparte to embark on a new wave of Constantinianism, whereby the Enlightenment philosophes’ aim of making science the new religion—their radically secular reading of Bacon—was finally institutionalized without violent spillover effects into the public sphere. The result was a set of Grandes Ecoles, state-based professional schools informed by the latest developments across the sciences and technology, from which the next generation of France’s leaders in politics, business and public life would be drawn. The current President of France, Emmanuel Macron, is a product of this education.

The ideological spokespersons for this new Constantinianism were Count Saint-Simon, who openly called it the ‘New Christianity’, and especially his understudy, Auguste Comte, for whom ‘Positivism’ and ‘Sociology’ were two sides of a global movement of societal reform that presented what Saint-Simon had dubbed ‘socialism’ as the culmination of capitalism. To be sure, today’s academically domesticated versions of Positivism and Sociology obscure their original radical character. Nevertheless, they provided the blueprint for the first modern ‘knowledge society’ organized as a rationalized division of labor consisting of specially trained experts, resulting in the sort of pyramid structure that was canonized at the end of the nineteenth century by the first management theorist, Henri Fayol. John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx were both deeply influenced by this new Constantinianism and driven to oppose it in famously different ways that nevertheless kept its future-oriented and positive attitude towards science and technology. As Yeo observes, Whewell’s own horizons were also shaped by it.

Whewell especially appreciated the ‘metascientific’ approach that the new Constantinianism brought to the understanding of humanity’s intellectual development. The spirit of inquiry—previously the exclusive domain of religion—was now extended to scientific pursuits, which in turn would guide state policy. Moreover, as Whewell would have equally understood, the French vision was quite unlike Hegel’s contemporaneous view of Geist unfolding in world history, which gave the impression that the next act in the collective human drama could come from anywhere, which was exactly Hegel’s view of Napoleon, namely, ‘destiny on horseback’. In contrast, the French placed great store on interlocking institutions capable of withstanding external pressure. This had been the secret power of the original Constantinianism, which Napoleon recognized in a backhanded way when he effectively ended the Holy Roman Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, which resulted in his declaring himself Emperor of France and Christendom’s defensor fidelis. Although Napoleon’s reign lasted a mere decade, it nevertheless set a striking precedent for thinking about science as the state’s spiritual backbone, which became increasingly important in the modern era.

As Yeo observes, Whewell was very impressed by the most prominent scientist of the Napoleonic era, Georges Cuvier, who insisted on state-based professional recognition for scientists to ensure mutually beneficial relationships between politicians and scientists. Otherwise, there would be the sort of self-selecting alignment of politicians and scientists that produced the chaos of the French Revolution—and, for that matter, the English Civil War. Cuvier is best known nowadays as the first modern anti-evolutionist, specifically Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s lifelong scourge. A signature moment in their hostilities occurred when Napoleon’s troops returned from Egypt in an early campaign with deeply buried fossils that appeared to resemble the skeletons of extant animals. For Cuvier, this proved that species do not change once they have been created, even if they are later rendered extinct by some ‘catastrophe’, which he understood to be an act of God like the Great Flood in Genesis. Lamarck, in contrast, held that the timeframe for palpable species change may be much longer than Cuvier envisaged, the proof of which would lie in still more deeply buried fossils. However, since Lamarck had no way of dating fossils, Cuvier dismissed his hypothesis as an ad hoc speculation. In the meanwhile, Cuvier consolidated the Linnaean system of natural classification by incorporating extinct species with new levels (‘phyla’) that further articulated Linnaeus’ hierarchical vision of divine creation. It remains an odd and problematic—‘syncretistic’, put politely—feature of modern biology that nowadays an even more extended version of Linnaeus’ taxonomy than Cuvier could have imagined is attached to an even more resolutely evolutionary account of nature than he could have tolerated.

Nevertheless, Whewell thrived in this space. He was both theologian and scientist, coming of age in the generation after Cuvier’s—just as Creationism was reaching its peak in scientific sophistication, while Evolutionism was rapidly improving its own scientific performance, first with Charles Lyell and then Charles Darwin, both of whom Whewell corresponded with and reviewed. However, the UK public sphere in which Whewell operated differed significantly from that of France. As suggested earlier, the monarch who was restored to the throne at the end of the English Civil War was far from absolute and continued to cede power to Parliament as time passed, so that by Whewell’s day, its role had become largely symbolic. Moreover, Parliament was beginning to take steps to make its members more accountable to the people they represented. In short, the UK was rapidly democratizing against the backdrop of a central state that was relatively weak, except in foreign policy. In this ‘Classical Liberal’ political environment, science played an increasingly important role in a set of ongoing cultural struggles in which the established universities, Oxford and Cambridge, had yet to take a clear position.

4. Whewell’s Strategy: Anti-Dogmatism Falling Short of Full Democratization

Keep in mind that most of the UK’s quite considerable scientific and technological achievements up to that point—broadly associated with what by the end of the nineteenth century started to be called the ‘Industrial Revolution’—had been largely made by people with minimal university training and state funding. Not surprisingly, then, science was regarded as very much a res publica (‘public thing’), in which everyone was entitled to their opinion. Yeo draws attention to the most striking cultural struggle in which science figured in Whewell’s day—namely, between the Romantics and the Utilitarians. The Romantics often appealed to science to harness and enhance popular sentiments about nature in ways that exceeded the available evidence and threatened to blur the line between fact and fancy, whereas the Utilitarians argued—somewhat like the French Positivists—that both the methods and findings of science uniquely licensed their campaign to radically reform virtually all existing institutions. The novels of Charles Dickens played out this dispute in various registers for Victorian readers. In this context, Whewell’s self-appointed mission was to position the universities as the arbiters of such profoundly conflicting knowledge claims.

Generally speaking, when Whewell sought precedents for his most innovative thinking, he turned to Immanuel Kant. In a late essay, ‘The Conflict of the Faculties’, Kant argued for a distinct academic discipline called ‘Philosophy’ whose job would be to adjudicate the competing knowledge claims of the university’s established faculties: theology, law and medicine. In one sense, Kant wrote his own job description. He is nowadays regarded as the first great philosopher in the modern era to have made his career in a university—and in whose footsteps virtually all other philosophers have travelled. But it should be equally recalled that Kant had dedicated his magnum opus, the Critique of Pure Reason, to Francis Bacon, whose Novum Organon was about subjecting all knowledge claims to trials of faith. Moreover, in Whewell’s lifetime, a specific Philosophy-driven version of Kant’s proposal was being implemented by Prussian Education Minister Wilhelm von Humboldt at the newly founded University of Berlin, which by the end of the nineteenth century would become Europe’s scientific powerhouse and the model of the American research university that came to dominate the global intellectual scene in the twentieth century. But without denying the virtues of the Germany-to-America trajectory (which I explore in depth in Back to the University’s Future: The Second Coming of Humboldt [Springer, 2023]), that path was not available to the UK—and Whewell was fully aware of it.

As a lifelong Cambridge academic, Whewell confronted the challenge that most of the new knowledge receiving widespread public attention and support came from outside the academic sector. Thus, his mission was somehow to reclaim that knowledge for the universities. In 1831, Whewell was a co-founder of the British Association for the Advancement of Science—now known as the British Science Association—as an academically moderated platform for public engagement with cutting-edge science. In Whewell’s time, it served to mitigate the disputes between the Romantics and the Utilitarians, resulting in the emergence of a cadre of ‘science communicators’, chief among them Darwin’s early public defender, Thomas Henry Huxley. But at a deeper level, Whewell wanted the legitimacy of cutting-edge science to be ‘grandfathered’ as the inheritance of previous intellectual labors, proper knowledge of which requires a university degree. Put bluntly, Whewell believed that the so-called ‘genius’ inventors of the Industrial Revolution often did not understand the limits of their inventions and hence unwittingly oversold them to a credulous public and, in the process, presented a misleading picture of the scientific research frontier. In this respect, Whewell updated Kant’s original concerns about the tendency of ‘pure reason’ to overstep its bounds—but now in a world where embodied machines were replacing empty rhetoric as the vehicles of transgression.

Whewell’s three-volume History of the Inductive Sciences, first published in 1837, is normally seen as his masterwork. Although it covered much the same ground as Comte’s Course of Positive Philosophy, published only a few years earlier, it is written in a rather different spirit. Comte believed that he had detected an implicit logic—basically from simple to complex—that governed the historical ordering of the sciences, whose crowning achievement would be ‘Sociology’, the science (and religion) of humanity. In contrast, Whewell’s account of the history of science was less about science’s goals than its modus operandi, largely as a guide to how more effective science may be done in the future. This methodological focus makes Whewell of greater interest to today’s philosophers of science than Comte. Of special importance to Whewell himself was the prospect that the history of science might teach us how to learn about the empirical world, which could then ground a university science curriculum. Here Whewell anticipated several twentieth century proposals to teach science through its history, most notably the General Education in Science program started by Harvard President James Bryant Conant after the Second World War, in which Thomas Kuhn first worked as a teaching assistant, during which he incubated the ideas that became the extremely influential The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

A striking feature of Whewell’s ‘metascientific’ approach in his day was its undogmatic attitude towards the scientific method. Indeed, he coined the term heuristic to capture the necessarily provisional nature of any proposed methods of inquiry, which in the end had to be judged in terms of the sorts of discoveries they made possible. For Whewell, the relevant discoveries involved what he called ‘consilience’: They explained a wide range of known phenomena in a way that enables the discovery of new phenomena. On this basis, Isaac Newton was a genuine scientific genius. It also makes history central to a deep understanding of science, since the reliability of any method can only be evaluated against the available rivals. This put him at loggerheads with John Stuart Mill, whose System of Logic was fashioned—and to a large extent received—as an updated and more rigorous version of Bacon’s Novum Organon. Mill’s views about the correct scientific method were much more settled than Whewell’s. It is common nowadays to reduce the various disagreements between Whewell and Mill to the former’s belief and the latter’s disbelief in a priori truths. While technically correct, it obscures the fact that Whewell believed in the fallibility of our access to a priori truths, whereas Mill held that a priori truths were unnecessary because methodologically sound empirical inquiry could deliver the sort of ‘moral certainty’ required to license a Utilitarian policy reform agenda. This difference enabled Mill to cut a more dashing figure than Whewell on the Victorian public stage, while also making him vulnerable to critical scrutiny, especially once he could no longer defend himself—that is, after his death in 1873. Meanwhile a variety of relatively eccentric philosophers—ranging from Charles Sanders Peirce to Karl Popper and Larry Laudan—have semi-knowingly advanced Whewell’s alternative vision over the intervening years.

5. Conclusion: Whewell as the Complete Social Epistemologist

The challenges that faced Whewell in defining an appropriate intellectual and institutional space for science remain, even if they are registered in a different key. In that spirit, let me observe a limitation in Whewell’s vision, even after granting its superiority to Mill’s. Whewell’s History of the Inductive Sciences left the impression that Newton’s genius rested on his ability to synthesize various strands of early modern science due to a historical sensibility that enabled him to draw together distinct but already developing lines of inquiry. While this is a nice story to justify a historically based science curriculum, especially since Newton was Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, it is not necessarily one that is likely to result in new discoveries. Yeo recalls Joseph Priestley’s The History and Present State of Electricity (1767) as a precursor to Whewell’s work that nevertheless pointed in a different direction. Priestley was arguably the greatest public intellectual in the eighteenth-century Anglosphere. A scientist-cleric like Whewell, around the time Priestley discovered oxygen, he was also advising the US Founding Fathers—and subsequently supported the French Revolution. Priestley took a more democratic view of history. He believed that scientific genius could come from anywhere—and hence lacked the sort of historical pedigree that Whewell later seemed to suggest. But in that case, the task facing anyone who rightly admires scientific genius is to separate the wheat from the chaff in the genius moment. This would serve both to improve one’s critical faculties and to inspire one’s own attempts at genius. It is perhaps no surprise that Friedrich Engels went so far as to regard Priestley as the true Enlightenment precursor of historical materialism in his late book, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy (1886).

However, in the end, Whewell proved to be what might be called the ‘complete social epistemologist’. He operated at all levels of social life in a rapidly changing nineteenth century Britain. He practiced and published in both main sources of epistemic authority (theology and science), privately corresponded with the principal figures in both areas, oriented his thinking in relation to similar issues happening overseas, engaged in public debates with domestic opponents, and helped to develop forums for more people to participate in the forms of knowledge that would govern their lives. In all this, Whewell was not so different from Priestley. However, much more than Priestley, Whewell had a keen sense of the need for institutions to mediate any radical reforms in our knowledge practices. Whereas Priestley taught at a short-lived ‘alternative academy’ near Manchester (Warrington), whose students included Thomas Malthus, Whewell remained at Cambridge and proposed the basis for a proper natural science curriculum that would enable subsequent generations to benefit from the theoretical and practical insights of the Industrial Revolution. In the process, Whewell helped to canonize a distinction between science’s contexts of ‘discovery’ and ‘justification’, which over the past two centuries has shaped philosophical thinking about the method of science. Whereas Priestley was inclined to see genius as bursting from the shackles of established institutions, Whewell saw it as carefully cultivated within institutions to have sustained long-term impact; hence, the need for knowledge claims to be ‘justified’. This explains why in The History of the Inductive Sciences, Whewell credits Priestley’s French contemporary, Antoine Lavoisier, with the discovery of oxygen. Lavoisier provided an intellectual context (an element-based chemistry) that enabled the exploitation of oxygen’s full potential. In Lavoisier’s hands, the discovery of oxygen itself mattered less than its demonstration of a deep conceptual point about the nature of matter that carried enormous practical consequences. On this basis, Whewell judged Lavoisier a ‘revolutionary’ comparable to Newton. In this very creative integration of the history, philosophy and sociology of epistemic practice, Whewell remains a social epistemologist from whom much can be learned today.

Author Information:

Steve Fuller, S.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick.

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