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Title: The production and dissemination of scientific knowledge from the point of view of communitarian epistemology
Author: Shekeris, Haris
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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The topic of the present thesis is the relationship between science and participatory, egalitarian democracy. The thesis is a defence of communitarian epistemology as one that could fulfill the role of an epistemology conducive to society which is truly democratic, and where scientists involved in policy are held in check from forming unelected and unaccountable elites. The thesis begins with an exploration of the two main themes, those of science and of democracy. Some perceptions and features of science are explored, as well as a model of participatory democracy, the latter emerging from a criticism of influential conceptions of democracy. I conclude that it is important that lay people have an accurate perception of science and scientists, in order for scientists to possess an optimal position in a democratic society. The second chapter explores lay perceptions of science and scientists, using as a platform Eurobarometer, Pew Research and Public Attitudes to Science studies conducted in the last ten years. I conclude that current attempts at mapping out lay perceptions and understanding of science are deeply flawed, and that furthermore popularised science books often promote a misguided and inaccurate image of science and scientists. The third chapter explores how education for citizenship and science education can reinforce each other in producing citizens well-enough informed to be able to adjudicate and exert control over technically-laden decisions. Furthermore, some philosophical implications of the epistemology that I advocate are presented and defended. The fourth chapter consists of a presentation and defence of the two main theses of communitarian epistemology, deriving from current and historical scientific practice. The aim of this chapter is to defend communitarian epistemology as accurately explaining the social nature of the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge. The fifth chapter consists of a long defence of meaning finitism, a key element of communitarian epistemology, as well as a brief presentation and defence of a strong community thesis in normativity. Finally, in the last chapter I give an example of a "communitarian" field of science, through the presentation of sustainability science.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available