Some people believe that science can answer the 'why?' rather than just 'how can I visualize/model/interpret this?'. It's the attribution of a 'super natural' quality to science as is currently quite popular in the western world.

I mean, there is a strong overlap between this believe and the concept of empiricism, with the huge distinction that an empiricist need not attribute this quality to science at all. An empiricist can be fully aware that an apple does not fall to the ground because (the 'why?') of gravity/spacetime curvatures, but that gravity/spacetime curvatures are simply the way we model our past observations of such events which is super useful in our daily lives and gives us limited control over reality, but can never give a true deeper understanding of reality itself. So what I am looking for is the word for someone who answers the 'why?' with 'because science'.

As common and widespread as this believe/faith is in certain circles I am quite sure there must be some term to describe a person adhering to such a believe, but I have come short. A word describing somebody who adheres to scientism would come extremely close, except that I have not been able to find the name for such a person and 'scientism' itself is primarily being used as an (academic) pejorative rather than something that simply describes a certain believe/faith.

(Do note that lacking any better answer I will be open to accepting an answer with the word that describes a believer of scientism though I really hope there is some more neutral and/or specific term for this. I rediscovered the term 'scientism' whilst writing this question, so I am already quite happy with that, just the very strong connotations the term carries will never allow me to ask 'Are you a ...?')

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    Laudan's book Science and Relativism caricatures four types of philosophers of science: pragmatist, relativist, realist and positivist. The book is a quick read if you are interested in the topic.
    – user31341
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 2:31
  • I read the question headline and thought, deism, but you mean the opposite.
    – stevesliva
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 3:52

3 Answers 3


Philosophically, a scientific realist.


Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science is the real world, as it is, independent of what it might be taken to be.



Naturalism is the belief that nature is all that exists, and that all things supernatural (including gods, spirits, souls and non-natural values) therefore do not exist.

And also:

Methodological Naturalism is the assumption that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming either the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and so considers supernatural explanations for such events to be outside science. It holds that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality, and that such empirical methods will only ascertain natural facts, whether supernatural facts exist or not.


Since "ist" means as in "Theist", "Atheist", "Materialist", or "Secularist" *

"a follower of a distinctive practice, system, or philosophy, typically a political ideology or an artistic movement"

Then a follower of Science should be Scienc-ist (which is different from Scientist)

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    No. Productivity in English is bounded. One can't just find a local pattern and invent new exemplars. And ELU deals with established usage, not D-I-Y non-words. Commented Nov 30, 2020 at 14:33

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