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Abstract

Multiculturalists have recently raised a number of important challenges to the school curriculum, including whose knowledge are we teaching? and who benefits and loses by existing approaches to the curriculum? In this article we examine a number of issues in this debate that are of primary importance to science educators. These issues include: (1) problems with the universalist account of the nature of science that has been the most powerful defense against multiculturalism; (2) an examination of some historical cases that illuminate the consequences of maintaining a universalist perspective on science; and (3) an argument for a multicultural perspective on scientific knowledge. These issues are examined in the context of a national science education reform in which there is considerable consensus that the science curriculum should include teaching about the nature of science. We argue that the nature of science taught in school should reflect a multicultural perspective on scientific knowledge. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.