The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority

The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority Review

A fascinating look at key thinkers throughout history who have shaped public perception of science and the role of authority.


When does a scientific discovery become accepted fact? Why have scientific facts become easy to deny? And what can we do about it? In The Workshop and the World, philosopher and science historian Robert P. Crease answers these questions by describing the origins of our scientific infrastructure—the “workshop”—and the role of ten of the world’s greatest thinkers in shaping it. At a time when the Catholic Church assumed total authority, Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, and René Descartes were the first to articulate the worldly authority of science, while writers such as Mary Shelley and Auguste Comte told cautionary tales of divorcing science from the humanities. The provocative leaders and thinkers Kemal Atatürk and Hannah Arendt addressed the relationship between the scientific community and the public in in times of deep distrust.


As today’s politicians and government officials increasingly accuse scientists of dishonesty, conspiracy, and even hoaxes, engaged citizens can’t help but wonder how we got to this level of distrust and how we can emerge from it. This book tells dramatic stories of individuals who confronted fierce opposition—and sometimes risked their lives—in describing the proper authority of science, and it examines how ignorance and misuse of science constitute the preeminent threat to human life and culture. An essential, timely exploration of what it means to practice science for the common good as well as the danger of political action divorced from science, The Workshop and the World helps us understand both the origins of our current moment of great anti-science rhetoric and what we can do to help keep the modern world from falling apart.

Title:The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority

    The Workshop and the World: What Ten Thinkers Can Teach Us About Science and Authority Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    The very gears that make Facebook socially wonderful—its ease of connecting and sharing—are the same ones that facilitate trolling, the flourishing of hate groups, the dissemination of fake news,...

  • Todd

    Early modern philosophy of science made relevant for today. ...

  • Christopher

    Authority, both generally and in particular areas, is under assault today. Just because you are the trained referee of a professional game, a government bureaucracy, or a renowned scientist doesn’t ...

  • Edward B.

    I really liked this.It is about how we got to a world in which people (especially Republican politicians in the United States) consider scientific facts to be optional - and what can be done about thi...

  • Dale Bentz

    Not an easy read, but a worthwhile one that highlighted to me the ideas and proposals of (what were to me) some (new) members of the historical philosophical society. As the author points out, a safe ...

  • Dave

    Robert Crease outlines the history of scientific thought to explain how today's science deniers can justify their views. It was a little more difficult for me to follow all of the connections in the e...

  • Chad Brock

    3.75...