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How is Science Universal?

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I investigate the universality of science as perceived in epistemological conceptions and in sociology of science, as well as claims about the anti-universal character of sci- ence. In this, I distinguish two kinds of universality of science: epistemic and global cultural/social, and in the latter also the global universality of the basic level of science. I attempt to show that epistemology views science as universal in its basic aspects relat- ing to knowledge, its object, subject and cognitive values as well as methods, which, according to the epistemological meta-theses, are necessary for scientific validity and autonomy. I also draw attention to the fact that sociologised, multiculturally-oriented approaches to science are wrong to hold it for irrevocably anti-universal and exclusively a part of Western culture. I suggest instead the perspective of basic-level global univer- salism, where science is seen to grow out of a cultural base common to all cultures, which provides the criteria for weak rationality, weak empiricism and methodology and determines the nomological character of cognition. Finally, I trace the evolution of universality from a property of science to a value, and ask about the meaning of this property-cum-value for the human world.
  • Institute of Philoso- phy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.
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