Hanna Arendt on the need for a public debate on science

Environmental Ethics 20 (3):305-316 (1998)
I discuss Arendt’s claim that science and its uses should become a matter of political discussion. The suggestion that science can be discussed and monitored by lay people is based on her interpretation of modern science. Modern science results from a flight from the human condition, which in her view should be reversed by means of the public debate. I conclude that Arendt’s political approach should in fact be called a moral approach. Arendt’s arguments can be reduced to a traditional humanistic critique of science, interpreted as a version of Kant’s antinomy between the cognitive and the moral interests of reason, according to which scientists must be prevented from treating human beings as a natural species like any other
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