The Science Wars have not involved any violence, nor even threats of violence. Thus the label “wars” for this series of discussions, mostly one-sided and mostly located within the academy, is something of an overblown metaphor. Nonetheless, I will suggest that there are some respects in which the metaphor is appropriate. The Science Wars involve territory, albeit a metaphorical kind of territory. They inspire work that can be best interpreted as ideological, a result of disciplinary interests. Moreover, fellow participants in the wars and others reward that ideological work.
My goal in this is to display efforts to maintain a discipline's epistemic authority, the recognition that members of that discipline have legitimate claims to knowledge on a subject. The central section of the paper takes the form of a discussion of one recent contribution to the Science Wars, James Robert Brown's Who Rules in Science? My argument is at least somewhat generalizable beyond this book, and it therefore points to interesting phenomena related to epistemic authority.