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Science and Public Controversy: Editor's Introduction

Forbes, Curtis (2011) Science and Public Controversy: Editor's Introduction. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science, 5 (1). pp. 1-4. ISSN 1913-0465

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Abstract

Scientific claims implicitly invite criticism. While we might expect that challenging an epistemic authority in religious circles would be seen as an illegitimate activity (e.g. heresy) and met with suppression, challenging an epistemic authority in scientific circles is supposed to be a legitimate form of engagement, and should (ideally) be met with reasoned argument based in empirical evidence. Given this implicit invitation to challenge scientific claims, and the sweeping knowledge claims often made by today’s scientists, it is hardly surprising that people outside narrowly defined scientific communities (i.e. science’s “public”) often challenge the truth of scientific consensuses. The scrutiny of scientific claims by non-scientist members of the public is quite understandable and in many ways unobjectionable, given the role that science advice increasingly plays in our society’s governance structures and public policy making. As scientists increasingly play policy-maker, they become doubly subject to public criticism: first as a scientist making substantive claims about reality and second as public-interest decision-maker making important decisions about public policy. Thus, for the scientist’s social role as epistemic authority to remain justified, public criticism of science should ideally be entertained and answered by practicing scientists.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Forbes, Curtis
Keywords: Scientific Realism; Epistemic Issues; Epistemology of Science
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jordan Miller
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2021 02:21
Last Modified: 11 Sep 2021 02:21
Item ID: 17878
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.v5i1.15622
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Technology
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 30 September 2011
Page Range: pp. 1-4
Volume: 5
Number: 1
ISSN: 1913-0465
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17878

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