Spontaneous Generations 5 (1):1-4 (2011)

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
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.4245/sponge.v5i1.15622
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,464
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
15 ( #701,158 of 2,520,426 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #405,718 of 2,520,426 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes