Why Policy Needs Philosophers as Much as It Needs Science. Briggle, A. and Frodeman, R. 2016:57b3q+.
Why Policy Needs Philosophers as Much as It Needs Science [link]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
[Excerpt] In a widely-discussed recent essay for the New Atlantis, the policy scholar Daniel Sarewitz argues that science is in deep trouble. While modern research remains wondrously productive, its results are more ambiguous, contestable and dubious than ever before. This problem isn't caused by a lack of funding or of scientific rigour. Rather, Sarewitz argues that we need to let go of a longstanding and cherished cultural belief - that science consists of uniquely objective knowledge that can put an end to political controversies. Science can inform our thinking; but there is no escaping politics. [] Sarewitz, however, fails to note the corollary to his argument: that a change in our expectations concerning the use of science for policy implies the need to make something like philosophical deliberation more central to decision making. [] [...] Practically speaking, this implies employing individuals with philosophical training in a wide variety of policy and regulatory institutions: not as specialists whose job is to provide answers, but to ask the right kinds of questions. As it is currently constituted, academic philosophy is not up to this task. A premium is placed on theoretical rigor, at the loss of social significance. [...] Indeed, what Sarewitz says of academic science is painfully true of most philosophy and of the humanities generally. Philosophers have mimicked scientists in all the worst ways: practicing a highly specialised discipline and speaking primarily to one another. [...] [] [...] This suggests the need for something analogous to the open science movement, directed towards the humanities. [...] Promoted by bodies like the Wellcome Trust, European Commission and US National Academies, open science emphasizes the importance of transparency from the design of research projects to the reporting of results. An equivalent ” open humanities” initiative could help to bring philosophy out of the study and into the community. [] Sarewitz doesn't speak in terms of open science. Rather, he revives Alvin Weinberg's call for ” trans-science”, a problem-oriented approach to inquiry that is judged by its success in the real world, rather than by disciplinary metrics. Weinberg says that trans-science begins with an act of ” selfless honesty” where experts acknowledge that an issue has exceeded the boundaries of their domain. [] Trans-scientists have to know when they don't know - otherwise they'll labor under the illusion (and perhaps fool others too) that they are capable of solving problems that they can't. This is the stuff of Socrates. For Socrates, wisdom consisted in knowing that one doesn't know. He exposed the self-assured expert as a poseur, pronouncing on matters outside his jurisdiction. [...]
@article{briggleWhyPolicyNeeds2016,
  title = {Why Policy Needs Philosophers as Much as It Needs Science},
  author = {Briggle, Adam and Frodeman, Robert},
  date = {2016},
  journaltitle = {The Guardian},
  volume = {2016},
  pages = {57b3q+},
  issn = {0261-3077},
  url = {http://mfkp.org/INRMM/article/14167078},
  abstract = {[Excerpt] In a widely-discussed recent essay for the New Atlantis, the policy scholar Daniel Sarewitz argues that science is in deep trouble. While modern research remains wondrously productive, its results are more ambiguous, contestable and dubious than ever before. This problem isn't caused by a lack of funding or of scientific rigour. Rather, Sarewitz argues that we need to let go of a longstanding and cherished cultural belief - that science consists of uniquely objective knowledge that can put an end to political controversies. Science can inform our thinking; but there is no escaping politics.

[] Sarewitz, however, fails to note the corollary to his argument: that a change in our expectations concerning the use of science for policy implies the need to make something like philosophical deliberation more central to decision making.

[] [...] Practically speaking, this implies employing individuals with philosophical training in a wide variety of policy and regulatory institutions: not as specialists whose job is to provide answers, but to ask the right kinds of questions.

As it is currently constituted, academic philosophy is not up to this task. A premium is placed on theoretical rigor, at the loss of social significance. [...] Indeed, what Sarewitz says of academic science is painfully true of most philosophy and of the humanities generally. Philosophers have mimicked scientists in all the worst ways: practicing a highly specialised discipline and speaking primarily to one another. [...]

[] [...] This suggests the need for something analogous to the open science movement, directed towards the humanities. [...] Promoted by bodies like the Wellcome Trust, European Commission and US National Academies, open science emphasizes the importance of transparency from the design of research projects to the reporting of results. An equivalent ” open humanities” initiative could help to bring philosophy out of the study and into the community.

[] Sarewitz doesn't speak in terms of open science. Rather, he revives Alvin Weinberg's call for ” trans-science”, a problem-oriented approach to inquiry that is judged by its success in the real world, rather than by disciplinary metrics. Weinberg says that trans-science begins with an act of ” selfless honesty” where experts acknowledge that an issue has exceeded the boundaries of their domain.

[] Trans-scientists have to know when they don't know - otherwise they'll labor under the illusion (and perhaps fool others too) that they are capable of solving problems that they can't. This is the stuff of Socrates. For Socrates, wisdom consisted in knowing that one doesn't know. He exposed the self-assured expert as a poseur, pronouncing on matters outside his jurisdiction. [...]},
  issue = {October, 13},
  keywords = {*imported-from-citeulike-INRMM,~INRMM-MiD:c-14167078,epistemology,etics,free-scientific-knowledge,hermeneutics,knowledge-freedom,open-access,open-science,peer-review,philosophy,science-policy-interface,science-society-interface,scientific-knowledge-sharing,transdisciplinary-research}
}
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