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Science Democratised = Expertise Decommissioned

Fuller, Steve (2007) Science Democratised = Expertise Decommissioned. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 1 (1). pp. 25-35. ISSN 1913 0465

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Abstract

Science and expertise have been antithetical forms of knowledge in both the ancient and the modern world, but they appear identical in today’s postmodern world, especially in Science & Technology Studies (STS) literature. The ancient Athenians associated science (epistemé) with the contemplative life afforded to those who lived from inherited wealth. Expertise (techné) was for those lacking property, and hence citizenship. Such people were regularly forced to justify their usefulness to Athenian society. Some foreign merchants, collectively demonised in Plato’s Dialogues as ‘sophists’, appeared so insulting to citizen Socrates, because they dared to alienate aspects of this leisured existence (e.g. the capacity for articulate reasoning) and repackage them as techniques that might be purchased on demand from an expert – that is, a sophist. In effect, the sophists cleverly tried to universalise their own alien status, taking full advantage of the strong analogy that Athenians saw between the governance of the self and the polis. Unfortunately, Plato, the original spin doctor, immortalised Socrates’ laboured and hyperbolic rearguard response to these sly and partially successful attempts at dislodging hereditary privilege.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Fuller, SteveS.W.Fuller@warwick.ac.uk
Keywords: expertise, democracy, science
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
Depositing User: Jessie Hall
Date Deposited: 17 Dec 2018 17:49
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2018 17:49
Item ID: 15457
Journal or Publication Title: Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Publisher: The University of Toronto
Official URL: https://spontaneousgenerations.library.utoronto.ca...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.4245/sponge.v1i1.2969
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
Date: 8 December 2007
Page Range: pp. 25-35
Volume: 1
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913 0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/15457

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