Skip to content
The State of ‘Nature’
Image on the first issue of Nature, 1869

The State of ‘Nature’

Mucking around in the messy business of political compromises and calculations puts scientists at a distance from what they really know.

· 5 min read

Should science be political? It is often imagined that debates around this sort of question turn on abstruse theoretical matters. What does it mean to be political? And is it even possible to avoid it? Aren’t scientists’ choices about what to study and research ineluctably political? And wouldn’t it require a kind of intentional naivety to pretend that scientific results aren’t employed in public discourse in distinctly political ways? At issue are the conceivability and desirability of a kind of neutral liberal stance, according to which the facts speak for themselves. This kind of political-theory debate is rehashed endlessly in other spheres: can and should journalism, academia, and so on be political?

You might also like

On Instagram @quillette