Epistemic Corruption and Manufactured Doubt: The Case of Climate Science

Public Affairs Quarterly 31 (3):165-187 (2017)
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Abstract

Criticism plays an essential role in the growth of scientific knowledge. In some cases, however, criticism can have detrimental effects; for example, it can be used to ‘manufacture doubt’ for the purpose of impeding public policy making on issues such as tobacco consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway 2010). In this paper, we build on previous work by Biddle and Leuschner (2015) who argue that criticism that meets certain conditions can be epistemically detrimental. We extend and refine their account by arguing that such criticism can be epistemically corrupting—it can create social conditions that are conducive to the development of epistemic vice by agents operating within them.

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Author Profiles

Ian James Kidd
Nottingham University
Justin B. Biddle
Georgia Institute of Technology

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