Beyond the Two Cultures: Review of “Is Great Science Great Science Fiction?” at Durham Book Festival

READ Research English At Durham

Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneCould Star Trek be considered a serious attempt at scientific thinking? Are scientists akin to novelists in their interpretations of the world? Dr Peter Garratt reviews the debate “Is Great Science Great Science Fiction?” held at Durham Book Festival 2013 as part of the Hearing the Voice project.

If, according to Friedrich Nietzsche, natural science affords “only an interpretation and arrangement of the world,” then what is to be made of the suggestion that Star Trek is a serious attempt at scientific thinking? Are scientists best regarded as interpreters and arrangers, perhaps akin to novelists, or is the analogy between science and literature a dangerous error that confuses two different orders of knowledge?

These questions were addressed with entertaining joie de vivre in a formal debate organised by Hearing the Voice, a project funded by the Wellcome Trust, as part of the 2013 Durham Book Festival. Supporting the…

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