A Social-Pluralistic View of Science Advising
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In this dissertation, I bring together two disciplines: Science, Technology, and Society studies and the Philosophy of Science, to develop a social-pluralistic account of science advising. I use three prominent theorists in the philosophy of science to critique three prominent views in the science, technology, and society field relating to science advising. I argue that the science, technology, and society literature does not fully account for the value-ladeness of scientific research. To that end, I develop a social-pluralistic account of science advising: social, because advice should come from panels or institutions rather than individuals, and pluralistic, because we should assess the credibility of advice along several dimensions of objectivity. I then apply my view to two real world examples: first, an EPA report on the harmful effects of environmental tobacco smoke, which faced lawsuits from the tobacco industry, and second, the Government of Canada’s use of Roundup Ready canola, a biotechnology, as a “value neutral” policy response to avoid discussions about the socio-cultural impact of industrial agriculture. These examples help to demonstrate the usefulness of my view in responding to real-world situations. A social-pluralistic view of science advising helps ensure that the role of values in producing scientific knowledge and science advice are legitimate, helps ensure that diverse viewpoints are actively considered as part of the advisory process, and ensures that the resulting advice is independent of any one person’s views, beliefs, or values.
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Blake Freier (2023). A Social-Pluralistic View of Science Advising. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19505
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