Nasty little facts of logic

Although science is a social institution, it is not just another social institution. The social institution of science is obedient to special imperatives because it undertakes to explore and explain the world, to in some sense use the world as the ultimate test of its results. Science institutionalises what we know as empiricism, the attempt to learn from experience. The spine of learning from experience is logic: if we have two inconsistent statements, one of them must be false, its negation true. This uncomfortable logical fact, so often allowed to be disregarded or even flouted by other social insti­tutions (e.g. in politics and religion), has to be taken seriously in science. The republic of science makes it difficult to evade or flout contradiction, hence the detection of one is an incipient crisis. [18]

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