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The science of plant cultural history

Human dependency on plants is multi-faceted but total: so why hasn’t this topic been given more focused academic attention than, say, the relationships that exists between plants themselves – the formal study of plant taxonomy? Indeed, why hasn’t it been given the status of a science?   Studying the cultural history of plants – the relationship between plants and people – draws attention to the complexity, diffuseness, and ill-defined character of the topic, to the fact that it is unscientific. Is it unscientific by virtue of the topic or because it has never been made scientific?”

How to create a new science

When we explore the history of science becomes evident that there was no inevitable scientific path, no inevitable inventory of scientific subjects. As a matter of historical development, science was associated with certain knowledge. At first there were the universal and necessary truths of mathematics, followed by the universal laws or constants of physics. But, by the 20th century, universities were boasting schools of social, economic, and political science.

How far can this idea be stretched – a science of architecture, of literary criticism, of history?

We must have some stability around the notion of science if we are to make headway here.

What is science?

The notion of what we mean by ‘science’ is discussed in detail in the article on science and reason. Here it is concluded that defining the necessary and sufficient conditions for science is simply not possible. Science is a fuzzy concept with characteristics thsat share a family resemblance. Among these important characteristics are:

Concepts that are universal, necessary, and sufficient

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