NZSM Online

Get TurboNote+ desktop sticky notes

Interclue makes your browsing smarter, faster, more informative

SciTech Daily Review

Webcentre Ltd: Web solutions, Smart software, Quality graphics


What's in a name?

In the June editorial [NZSM 8, 1997] Vicki Hyde calls for some scepticism when it comes to titles like "Dr" and "Prof" lest these titles become debased and meaningless. I have a similar concern with the term science.

It seems for anything to be taken seriously these days it must proclaim itself a science of some kind or other. You may not take the hard line view that doing science means employing hypothetico-deductive method with an identifiable dependent and independent variable, but ideas such as repeatability, objectivity, and control of extraneous variables are surely essential to any notion of science. If what you are doing does not have these elements then it is not science and you will have to find the courage to call it something else. Philosophy, for example does not attempt to call itself a science, and there are plenty of other extremely worthwhile disciples which are not sciences.

Where does this leave terms such as "Feminist Science", "Political Science" and "Maori Science"? I believe no credibility is lost and much is gained here if the word "science" is replaced by the word "studies".

Craig Webster