Democratizing Science – University of Copenhagen

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Social Epistemology Research Group > Activities > Past Activities (2008-2014) > Democratizing Science

Democratizing Science

The general topic of the workshop is the democratization of science and the social sciences in particular: To what extent, and in what ways, should science, and in particular the social sciences, be democratized so that it is not only the scientists who make all the decisions?

9:00-9:15       Arrival, coffee

9:15-10:15      Klemens Kappel (University of Copenhagen) ‘’ Democratizing science. What could it mean, and is there a good case to be made’’?

10:15-11:15     Kristina Rolin (Tampere University) " "Values in Science: A Liberal Egalitarian Approach’’

11:15-11:30     Short break

11:30-12:30     Hans Radder (University of Amsterdam) "Science in the public interest: its nature and continued significance"

12:30-13:15     Lunch

13:15-14:15     Finn Collin (University of Copenhagen) "Democratizing Science: Is Social Science a Special Case?"

14:15-15:15     Hanne Andersen (University of Aarhus) "Social scientific literacy - what can be learned from discussions on scientific literacy and teaching the nature of science?"

15:15-15:30     Short break

15:30-16:30     Recap

The general topic of the workshop is the democratization of science and the social sciences in particular: To what extent, and in what ways, should science, and in particular the social sciences, be democratized so that it is not only the scientists who make all the decisions?

This issue raises the following sorts of question:

First, what aspects of doing science should - to some extent –be democratized? Is it the choice of research topics? The methods used? The kind of data collected? The interpretation of these data? The theory that these data are taken to support? Or the application of the findings? It is possible to hold that one or several of these aspects of the scientific process should be democratized.

Second, what is to be understood by democratization? For instance, does it suggest that democratically elected politicians should decide, or at least have a say on, what scientists do research on or the kind of data to be collected? Or does it signify that the people under study should be involved in, and be allowed to have an impact on, various aspects of the scientific process? Or does it mean that the public (whatever that exactly means) should, to some degree, participate in certain aspects of scientific research?

Third, why hold that science should be democratized? Is it because this would result in better or higher-quality science? Or are there moral grounds for holding that they should be democratized? And if so, what are these? Or....?