Scientific freedom: its grounds and their limitations

Abstract
In various debates about science, appeal is made to the freedom of scientific research. A rationale in favor of this freedom is rarely offered. In this paper, two major arguments are reconstructed that promise to lend support to a principle of scientific freedom. According to the epistemological argument, freedom of research is required in order to organize the collective cognitive effort we call science efficiently. According to the political argument, scientific knowledge needs to be generated in ways that are independent of the major political powers because of the important role it plays for the citizens and their capacity to form well-informed political preferences. Both arguments are examined critically in order to identify their strengths and limitations. I argue that the scientific freedom established by both rests on a number of critical preconditions, and that the arguments’ force must be weighed against competing societal interests and values in each case of their application. Appeal to a principle of scientific freedom should therefore never mark the end, but rather the beginning of a public debate about the ends and means of science.
Keywords freedom of research  science policy  academic freedom
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2010.03.003
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 25,751
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
The Division of Cognitive Labor.Philip Kitcher - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):5-22.
On Liberty.Mill John Stuart - 1956 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophical Quarterly. Oxford University Press. pp. 519-522.
Delibration and Democratic Legitimacy.Joshua Cohen - 2003 - In Derek Matravers & Jonathan E. Pike (eds.), Debates in Contemporary Political Philosophy: An Anthology. Routledge, in Association with the Open University.
Science, Democracy, and the Right to Research.Mark B. Brown & David H. Guston - 2009 - Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):351-366.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
The Irreducibility of Value-Freedom to Theory Assessment.Anke Bueter - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 49:18-26.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
At Arm's Length? Applied Social Science and its Sponsors.Heidi Kjærnet - 2010 - Journal of Academic Ethics 8 (3):161-169.
Teaching in Colorado.Alison M. Jaggar - 2007 - Teaching Philosophy 30 (2):149-172.
The Problem of Freedom.Mary T. Clark (ed.) - 1973 - New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
What Freedom Is.Wells Earl Draughon - 2003 - Writer's Showcase.
Ought Research to Be Unrestricted?Michael Dummett - 1981 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 12:281-298.
Ethics, Academic Freedom and Academic Tenure.Richard T. De George - 2003 - Journal of Academic Ethics 1 (1):11-25.
Scientific Essentialism, Could've Done Otherwise, And the Possibility of Freedom.Erik Anderson - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 15:13-20.
Academic Freedom and Academic-Industry Relationships in Biotechnology.Robert Streiffer - 2006 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 16 (2):129-149.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-09-14

Total downloads

35 ( #140,777 of 2,146,801 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #120,194 of 2,146,801 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums