Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4):775-801 (2020)

Miljan Vasić
University of Belgrade
Vanja Subotić
University of Belgrade
Vlasta Sikimić
University Tübingen
The epistemic attitudes of scientists, such as epistemic tolerance and authoritarianism, play important roles in the discourse about rivaling theories. Epistemic tolerance stands for the mental attitude of an epistemic agent, e.g., a scientist, who is open to opposing views, while epistemic authoritarianism represents the tendency to uncritically accept views of authorities. Another relevant epistemic factor when it comes to the epistemic decisions of scientists is the skepticism towards the scientific method. However, the question is whether these epistemic attitudes are influenced by their sociopolitical counterparts, such as the researcher’s degree of conservatism. To empirically investigate the interplay between epistemic and sociopolitical attitudes of scientists, we conducted a survey with researchers across different disciplines. We propose scales for measuring epistemic tolerance and epistemic authoritarianism, as well as a scale for detecting the participants' readiness to question the scientific method. Furthermore, we investigate the relationship between epistemic tolerance and epistemic authoritarianism on the one hand, and career stage and sociopolitical views on the other hand. Interestingly, our study found only small correlations between the participants' degree of conservatism and their epistemic attitudes. This suggests that political views, against common argumentation, actually do not play an important role in one’s scientific decisions. Moreover, social scientists scored higher on the epistemic tolerance and lower on the epistemic authoritarianism scale than natural scientists. Finally, the results indicate that natural scientists question the scientific method less than social scientists.
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DOI 10.1007/s13164-020-00504-7
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas Samuel Kuhn - 1962 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.

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