Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):351-366 (2009)

Authors
Mark B. Brown
California State University, Sacramento
Abstract
Debates over the politicization of science have led some to claim that scientists have or should have a “right to research.” This article examines the political meaning and implications of the right to research with respect to different historical conceptions of rights. The more common “liberal” view sees rights as protections against social and political interference. The “republican” view, in contrast, conceives rights as claims to civic membership. Building on the republican view of rights, this article conceives the right to research as embedding science more firmly and explicitly within society, rather than sheltering science from society. From this perspective, all citizens should enjoy a general right to free inquiry, but this right to inquiry does not necessarily encompass all scientific research. Because rights are most reliably protected when embedded within democratic culture and institutions, claims for a right to research should be considered in light of how the research in question contributes to democracy. By putting both research and rights in a social context, this article shows that the claim for a right to research is best understood, not as a guarantee for public support of science, but as a way to initiate public deliberation and debate about which sorts of inquiry deserve public support.
Keywords Right to research  Scientific freedom  Politicization  Science policy
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DOI 10.1007/s11948-009-9135-4
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References found in this work BETA

Science, Truth, and Democracy.Philip Kitcher - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Between Past and Future.Hannah Arendt - 1961 - New York: Viking Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Geoengineering as Collective Experimentation.Jack Stilgoe - 2016 - Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (3):851-869.
Scientific Freedom: Its Grounds and Their Limitations.Torsten Wilholt - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 41 (2):174-181.
H5N1 Avian Flu Research and the Ethics of Knowledge.David B. Resnik - 2013 - Hastings Center Report 43 (2):22-33.

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