Scientismnewly coined word that refers to certain epistemologies based on science. The word has several different meanings:
- Scientism is usually used to mean the acceptance of scientific theory and scientific methods as applicable in all fields of inquiry about the world, including morality, ethics, art, and religion.
- Scientism can be used to mean the acceptance of scientific theory and scientific methods as applicable in all fields of inquiry about the physical, natural world. This definition is functionally equivalent to scientific naturalism.
- Scientism can refer to humanism and enlightenment values informed by science. In this context, scientism is "a scientific worldview that encompasses natural explanations for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life appropriate for an Age of Science." (Source: Michael Shermer, The Shamans of Scientism, Scientific American, 2002)
- Scientism can be a pejorative term, attributing, for instance, a 'fetishization' of science to an individual. This accusation is potentially linguistically troublesome, because someone 'accused' of scientism could also indeed be a 'scientist', but this adjective, if used by the accuser, fails utterly as a label for those accused of scientism. What in fact should you call someone you accuse of scientism? A scientismist? Other 'crimes' to which the 'accusation of scientism' can be addressed include those exhibiting or proclaiming an ignorance (or denial) of a relationship/disjunction between metaphysical and natural phenomena
- Finally, scientism can also refer to the attitude and method of the typical natural scientist. (Source: The American Heritageî Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.)
- "Science, Scientism, and Anti-Science in the Age of Preposterism", Susan Haack, Skeptical Inquier Magazine, 1997.
- Sandra Harding, "Who Knows? Identities and Feminist Epistemology", in Joan E. Hartman and Ellen Messer-Davidow, eds., (En)gendering Knowledge, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1991, p. 109.