Authors
Uwe Peters
Universität Bonn
Abstract
When scientists or science reporters communicate research results to the public, this often involves ethical and epistemic risks. One such a risk arises when scientific claims cause cognitive or behavioral changes in the audience that contribute to the self-fulfillment of these claims. Focusing on such effects, I argue that the ethical and epistemic problem that they pose is likely to be much broader than hitherto appreciated. Moreover, it is often due to a psychological phenomenon that has been neglected in the research on science communication, namely that many people tend to conform to descriptive norms, that is, norms capturing (perceptions of) what others commonly do, think, or feel. Because of this tendency, science communication can produce significant social harm. I contend that scientists have a responsibility to assess the risk of this potential harm and consider adopting strategies to mitigate it. I introduce one such a strategy and argue that its implementation is independently well motivated by the fact that it helps improve scientific accuracy.
Keywords science communication  scientific testimony  descriptive norms  values in science  self-fulfilling effects  social psychology
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather E. Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Weirdest People in the World?Joseph Henrich, Steven J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2-3):61-83.
The Structure of Science.Ernest Nagel - 1961 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 17 (2):275-275.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Epistemic Norms of Intra-Scientific Testimony.Mikkel Gerken - 2015 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6):568-595.
Epistemic Norms as Social Norms.David Henderson & Peter Graham - 2019 - In Miranda Fricker, Peter Graham, David Henderson & Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Social Epistemology. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 425-436.
Science and Ethics, Some of the Main Principles and Problems.Knut Erik Tranøy - 1987 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 30 (1):11-23.
Ad Hominem Arguments, Rhetoric, and Science Communication.Carlo Martini - 2018 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 55 (1):151-166.
Science and Ethics, Some of the Main Principles and Problems.Knut Erik Tranøy - 1987 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 30 (1):11-23.
Philosophy of Science for Science Communication in Twenty-Two Questions.Gregor Betz & David Lanius - 2020 - In Annette Leßmöllmann, Marcelo Dascal & Thomas Gloning (eds.), Science Communication. pp. 3-28.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-11-03

Total views
135 ( #70,885 of 2,403,498 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
135 ( #4,100 of 2,403,498 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes