Culture Magazine

Horgan’s The End of Science, a Reconsideration: All Wrapped up and Ready to Go

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
Horgan’s The End of Science, a reconsideration: All wrapped up and ready to go

A new working paper: No End in Sight: John Horgan’s End of Science, Redux. Download at:

Research Gate:

Abstract: It has been 25 years since John Horgan published The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age (1996). Horgan still believes that science is, in some sense, at an end. I disagreed with him then and I disagree with him now. Horgan suggested that we face biological limits to our cognitive capacities. I argue that, thought a succession of inventions – speech, writing, calculation, and computation – culture has allowed us transcend our primate biology. We have no reason to believe that we have run out of inventiveness. Topics examined: problems with the foundations of physics, Horgan’s ironic style of argument, coming to understand the human mind – “How, exactly, does a chunk of meat make a mind?” – and the long-term development of human culture. I suggest that what Horgan sees as the end is, paradoxically, an effect of the accelerating pace of cultural evolution, which is now up against a limit imposed by the human life cycle. Velocity is capped, but not motion. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.23438.69443


Introduction: What’s changed in 25 years? 2
Has investigation of the foundations of physics bottomed out? 3
A close reading of Horgan’s text: Ironic framing for ironic science 5
“Meat that thinks,” my personal quest 10 Mind-culture coevolution
17 A million points of light along the via negativa 22

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