In this collection of three essays we explore some basic questions facing science today. Science and the scientific method have matured into a global endeavor, which influences all of contemporary life, and like other great human endeavors, science has definite historical origins and intellectual foundations. It has a set of accepted principles, as well as current practices that do not always coincide with the professed principles, and it has choices to make for the future. We look into the fundamental questions about the purposes, practices and future of science because we believe that both scientists and the broader public, that is, all of us who benefit from science, should be mindful of the social and historical, as well as material consequences of science’s ubiquitous presence.
This book is written in non-technical language, and we intend it to be easily accessible to general readers who are interested in science and its broader implications. It will also be of interest to scientists who seek to explore the intellectual context of their discipline. No specialized technical knowledge is necessary to follow the book, and some scientific subjects that may be unfamiliar are briefly explained along the way. A few references to historical writings are made within the text, and we encourage interested readers to pursue them further, but they are not essential for the understanding of these essays.