Saturday, February 25, 2017

"What we need is not a depoliticized science but a more political science—that is, a science unembarrassed about the legitimate role of politics in resolving what we now call scientific disputes."

     Ari N. Schulman, "Science anxiety," The hedgehog review:  critical reflections on contemporary culture 18, no. 3 (Fall 2016):  74 (64-78).  "call" being the operative term, for it is an error "to expect science to adjudicate [what are often actually] normative questions" (71), given that even the various sciences disagree among themselves on many of those.  For "what are commonly regarded as scientific questions, resolvable by some singular methodology of science per se, in fact arise from conflicts among different scientific disciplines, with their rival methodologies, outlooks, and interests (70, citing Daniel Sarewitz), "their conflicting ethical priorities, political valences, and even metaphysics" (71).  So "If supposedly scientific disputes are in fact normative [rather than scientific] even when carried out among scientists, then surely the same will be true of debates in the public sphere" (72).

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