"Trust Me, I'm a Scientist" How Philosophy of Science Can Help Explain Why Science Deserves Primacy in Dealing with Societal Problems

Stefaan Blancke*, Maarten Boudry

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Modern democratic societies tend to appeal to the authority of science when dealing with important challenges and solving their problems. Nevertheless, distrust in science remains widespread among the public, and, as a result, scientific voices are often ignored or discarded in favour of other perspectives. Though superficially "democratic", such a demotion of science in fact hinders democratic societies in effectively tackling their problems. Worryingly, some philosophers have provided ammunition to this distrust and scepticism of science. They either portray science as an institution that has unrightfully seized political power, or they claim that science constitutes only one voice among many and that scientists should know their proper place in our societies. As philosophers of science, we believe that it is potentially dangerous to undermine trust in science in this way. Instead, we believe that philosophers should help people to understand why science, even though it is far from perfect, deserves our trust and its special standing in modern societies. In this paper, we outline what such an explanation may look like from a naturalistic and pragmatic perspective, and we discuss the implications for the role of philosophy of science in science education.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1141-1154
    Number of pages14
    JournalScience & Education
    Volume31
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2022

    Keywords

    • Evolution
    • Thinking
    • Belief

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