Authors
Karen Frost-Arnold
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Abstract
Modern scientific knowledge is increasingly collaborative. Much analysis in social epistemology models scientists as self-interested agents motivated by external inducements and sanctions. However, less research exists on the epistemic import of scientists’ moral concern for their colleagues. I argue that scientists’ trust in their colleagues’ moral motivations is a key component of the rationality of collaboration. On the prevailing account, trust is a matter of mere reliance on the self-interest of one’s colleagues. That is, scientists merely rely on external compulsion to motivate self-interested colleagues to be trustworthy collaborators. I show that this self-interest account has significant limitations. First, it cannot fully account for trust by relatively powerless scientists. Second, reliance on self-interest can be self-defeating. For each limitation, I show that moral trust can bridge the gap—when members of the scientific community cannot rely on the self-interest of their colleagues, they rationally place trust in the moral motivations of their colleagues. Case studies of mid-twentieth-century industrial laboratories and exploitation of junior scientists show that such moral trust justifies collaboration when mere reliance on the self-interest of colleagues would be irrational. Thus, this paper provides a more complete and realistic account of the rationality of scientific collaboration.
Keywords Collaboration  Trust  Social epistemology
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DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2013.04.002
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References found in this work BETA

Deciding to Trust, Coming to Believe.Richard Holton - 1994 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 72 (1):63 – 76.
The Role of Trust in Knowledge.John Hardwig - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (12):693-708.
Epistemic Dependence.John Hardwig - 1985 - Journal of Philosophy 82 (7):335-349.
Bias and Values in Scientific Research.Torsten Wilholt - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (1):92-101.

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Citations of this work BETA

Collaboration, Interdisciplinarity, and the Epistemology of Contemporary Science.Hanne Andersen - 2016 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 56:1-10.
Values in Science: The Case of Scientific Collaboration.Kristina Rolin - 2015 - Philosophy of Science 82 (2):157-177.
The Epistemic Norms of Intra-Scientific Testimony.Mikkel Gerken - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6):568-595.
Scientific Community: A Moral Dimension.Kristina Rolin - 2017 - Social Epistemology 31 (5):468-483.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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