Do monsters have an expiry date? They’re not just dangerous, after all, or evil, or frightening. They challenge our categories. They are perversions of the natural order.
Which means they have a special relationship with science. Once we study the monster—some disease, say, or geocentrism, or the unfamiliar “other”—we expand our ontology to create a space for it. The idea may still be difficult or unpleasant, but it ceases to be monstrous.
That makes science the slayer of monsters. Today, four-odd centuries after the beginning of Enlightenment science, do we have any monsters left? And if we don’t, is that a problem?
Welcome to “Monsters.”Read the Issue