With the advance of science, there has been a tendency to slip into scientism, and assume that any factual claim can be authenticated if and only if the term ‘scientific’ can correctly be ascribed to it. The consequence is that non-scientific approaches to reality ― and that can include all the arts, religion, and personal, emotional and value-laden ways of encountering the world ― may become labelled as merely subjective, and therefore of little account in terms of describing the way the world is.

Q1. In the above passage, what does "it" indicate? Is that "factual claim"? Am I right?

Q2. Shouldn't "that" be changed to "those"? I think the "that" is supposed to mean "non-scientific approaches to reality" and "approaches" are plural form. So the plural form of pronoun, "those" is needed here. Am I right or wrong?

  • "it" refers to "any factual claim" Mar 16, 2021 at 9:47
  • How about Q2? "that" or "those"? Thank you for your answer
    – mystery
    Mar 16, 2021 at 9:49
  • I believe "that" refers to a/the category/group of "non-scientific approaches to reality" Mar 16, 2021 at 9:54
  • So does the sentence sound okay to native speakers? The "that" doesn't need to be changed to "those"?
    – mystery
    Mar 16, 2021 at 10:14
  • let's wait for native speakers to sort it out :) I am fine with any of that/those/these Mar 16, 2021 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


You are correct that "it" refers to "any factual claim".

I am also wondering why "that" feels more natural than "those" to this English native, because "those" definitely looks more correct.

I believe it is because "that" applies to what is tacitly understood as "the collection of non-scientific approaches".

Yes, while "those" is technically more correct, I would not have noticed this unless it had been pointed out to me.


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