Toward a More Democratic Science

Dissertation, Temple University (2000)

Authors
Nancy McHugh
Wittenberg University
Abstract
This dissertation problematizes the notion of democracy implicit in arguments for enhancing democracy in science. I argue for a practice I call empiricial reflexivity as a method to enhance democracy in science. ;After a review of the literature, I begin by analyzing the beginnings of the co-development of liberal democracy and science in the seventeenth-century by investigating the relation between John Locke and Robert Boyle. I argue that liberalism and science were used to bolster and secure each other in the developing seventeenth-century social order. This relation led to an entrenched set of ideologies manifesting themselves in twentieth-century science such that they are largely hegemonic practices. ;I move on to argue the conditions of science are such that new voices become obscured and distorted by orthodox mainstream science, and will not provide the divergent and unique approaches desired by those interested in democracy in science. The problem in building a more democratic science is not how to add new voices to science, but how to locate and generate new voices that do not share the same sets of deeply entrenched ideologies, and to rethink scientific practice such that these voices do not become wiped out by orthodox voices. ;I finish by arguing that, given the co-development of science and liberal democracy, scientists and philosophers of science need to think of how the scientific community can build new perspectives in science that can generate and sustain democratic practices in science that are not ideologically encumbered by the liberalism and orthodox science. I argue empirical reflexivity is a means to generate a more democratic science. Empirical reflexivity is an active critical analysis that requires looking for and using alternative approaches. By looking for and using alternative approaches the veracity and legitimacy of our own approaches and ideologies are called into question. Empirical reflexivity also requires analyzing the origins of our own ideologies and scientific approaches. This requires investigating the causes of our own hegemony and recognizing that social causes have had a substantial role in the face of science and our philosophical conception of science
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