Communism, universalism and disinterestedness: Re-examining contemporary support among academics for Merton's scientific norms [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Academic Ethics 6 (1):67-78 (2008)
This paper re-examines the relevance of three academic norms to contemporary academic life – communism, universalism and disinterestedness – based on the work of Robert Merton. The results of a web-based survey elicited responses to a series of value statements and were analysed using the weighted average method and through cross-tabulation. Results indicate strong support for communism as an academic norm defined in relation to sharing research results and teaching materials as opposed to protecting intellectual copyright and withholding access. There is more limited support for universalism based on the belief that academic knowledge should transcend national, political, or religious boundaries. Disinterestedness, defined in terms of personal detachment from truth claims, is the least popular contemporary academic norm. Here, the impact of a performative culture is linked to the need for a large number of academics to align their research interests with funding opportunities. The paper concludes by considering the claims of an alternate set of contemporary academic norms including capitalism, particularism and interestedness.
|Keywords||Academic values scientific norms Merton Weber|
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Berger & Thomas Luckmann (1966/1990). The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Anchor Books.
Robert King Merton (1973). The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. University of Chicago Press.
P. Bourdieu (1989). The Corporatism of the Universal: The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World. Télos 1989 (81):99-110.
Mark R. Schwehn (1993). Exiles From Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America. Oxford University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
Cong Cao (2014). The Universal Values of Science and China’s Nobel Prize Pursuit. Minerva 52 (2):141-160.
David Budtz Pedersen & Vincent F. Hendricks (2014). Science Bubbles. Philosophy and Technology 27 (4):503-518.
Cristian Timmermann (2015). Pesticides and the Patent Bargain. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (1):1-19.
Dennis Bray & Hans von Storch (forthcoming). The Normative Orientations of Climate Scientists. Science and Engineering Ethics:1-17.
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