The inorganic intelligences in Poul Anderson's Genesis practice pure science. They seek knowledge for its own sake and I agree that this is good. In two other works by Poul Anderson, some human beings practice pure science but their search for knowledge is jeopardized by other considerations.
In "Esau," the trade post on Suleiman will be closed down if it becomes unprofitable even though:
"'Oh, no! We can't! The insights we're gaining -'" (The VanRijn Method, p. 534)
OK. I could quote another work but here is the next quiz question: which novel or story am I thinking of?