Magde Colloquium: Paul Romer, Boston College
Will Science Survive?
Science is the most important human invention. Its benefits are so large that one can reasonably ask why it took humans so long to invent it. In *The Knowledge Machine*, Michael Strevens suggests in effect that science is one of many possible equilibria in a game played by many people. To explain the emergence of science, this game has to be embedded in a larger theory that allows for occasional transitions between the equilibria of the social game. This type of explanation suggests that if a switch in one direction is possible, so too is a switch in the other direction. Bits of evidence ranging from the fleeting success of Babylonian math to the emergence of the anti-vax movement and recent chatter about "post-truth politics" suggest that the loss of science is a possibility that deserves consideration. There is a fallback argument that military rivalry between independent nations will keep science alive somewhere on earth, but it does not offer much reassurance about who will be in charge or how it will be used.
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 4:00pm
Higgins Hall, 310
Higgins Hall, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467