Science, Democracy and Relativism
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Science, Democracy and Relativism proposes and defends the thesis that scientific knowledge is produced through a process of argumentation and consensus among relevant communities of scientists, and that it is disseminated to other epistemic communities according to communitarian epistemology. Such a thesis considers scientific knowledge as unashamedly relative; however, this is regarded as a good thing for democracy, as it views knowledge as a matter of deliberation rather than something to be discovered. In order for democracy to flourish in modern settings where science is ever-present, and in order to avoid the creation of unelected and unaccountable scientific elites essentially producing state policy, it is necessary for the lay public to co-author, co-produce and co-own scientific knowledge.The book spans many disciplines in order to make its central argument, addressing topics ranging from political philosophy and theories of democracy, to the public understanding of science, science education, the sociology of scientific knowledge, science policy and the closure of scientific controversies, the philosophy of science, epistemology and semantics, and, finally, to sustainability science.The style of the prose and of the examples and topics discussed is deliberately simple, making the volume interesting and accessible to the interested lay-person.