“Trust Me—I’m a Public Intellectual”: Margaret Atwood’s and David Suzuki’s Social Epistemologies of Climate Science

In Michael Keren & Richard Hawkins‎ (eds.), Speaking Power to Truth: Digital Discourse and the Public Intellectual. Athabasca University Press‎. pp. 113-128 (2015)
Authors
Boaz Miller
Zefat Academic College
Abstract
Margaret Atwood and David Suzuki are two of the most prominent Canadian public ‎intellectuals ‎involved in the global warming debate. They both argue that anthropogenic global ‎warming is ‎occurring, warn against its grave consequences, and urge governments and the ‎public to take ‎immediate, decisive, extensive, and profound measures to prevent it. They differ, ‎however, in the ‎reasons and evidence they provide in support of their position. While Suzuki ‎stresses the scientific ‎evidence in favour of the global warming theory and the scientific ‎consensus around it, Atwood is ‎suspicious of the objectivity of science, and draws on an ‎idiosyncratic neo-Malthusian theory of ‎human development. Their implicit views ‎about the cognitive authority of science may be ‎identified with Critical Contextual Empiricism ‎and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology, respectively, ‎both of which face difficulties with ‎providing solid grounds for the position they advocate.‎ ‎.
Keywords social epistemology  critical contextual empiricism  standpoint epistemology  consensus  climate science  public intellectuals  science and media
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