The occurrence of earthquakes is usually ignored or discounted as an environmental issue, but the environmental relevance of the science of earthquake prediction is demonstrable. The social consequences of such predictions, when they are accurate, and even (once a general pattern of accuracy has been achieved) when they fail, have implications of such varied environmental issues as land-use control, building codes, social and economic costs (for predictions made when no earthquake occurs or for failures to predict earthquakes which do occur). (...) Lay members of the public are more directly involved in programs of earthquake prediction than in almost all other instances of scientific prediction, if only because the scientific findings require public participation in order to have any effect at all. Attention must be paid, accordingly, to the effect of specific public and social values on the practice of earthquake prediction-ranging from such broadly based ones as conceptions of the general relation between man and nature to narrower ones like the cost-benefit analysis of a program of earthquake prediction itself. Because of the close connection between the efficacy of earthquake prediction and public attitudes, moreover, certain questions concerning the social character of “normal” science and the deprofessionalization of scientific institutions are highlighted in this context. (shrink)
philosophers have been largely indifferent to questions about their own means of expression. It is as though they had tacitly established a distinc- tion between form and matter, and had also asserted an order of priority between them: the "matter" was what they would deal with-the form of its expression being an accidental feature of the acts of conception and communication. To be sure, there is a method, or at least a dogma, behind this inclination.