Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility

Wilholt T, Glimell H (2011)
In: Science In The Context Of Application. Carrier M, Nordmann A (Eds); Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274, . Dordrecht: Springer: 351-370.

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Carrier, Martin ; Nordmann, Alfred
Abstract
n the long-standing dispute about the conditions of science in society, many grand outlines have been suggested. Their proponents have often attempted to promote one or more general conclusions about science (e.g., that research must be autonomous, or that science’s social accountability must be reinforced) and, understandably, have striven to identify a coherent argumentative strategy that best supports their claims. Arguments that point into other directions are often seen as obstacles that must be rebutted or dismissed. In this paper, we try to describe the main layout of these arguments from a more ecumenical perspective. We start by portraying six core arguments that have each played a role in science policy after World War II as well as more generally in the debate over the contemporary conditions of science. They can be classified into three categories, following the rough directions to which they point: arguments for freedom of research, arguments for accountability, and arguments for targeted research. These three argumentative directions can thus be seen as creating a three-way tension that defines the main lines of controversy about science. We then expand our emerging framework by identifying a number of strategies and priorities that have actually been adopted in science policy after World War II. The three-way tension is recognizably present in the succession of policy constructs that have been implemented in western countries. In parallel to our exposition of the policy constructs, we will therefore revisit their locations on our argumentative map and ask ourselves whether new approaches in science policy can make the three-way tension manageable. How should they deal with the conflicting arguments? Being abstracted from real-world claims, each of the arguments we describe has its strengths and limitations – none of them is applicable to each and every instance of scientific research. Our tentative take on their clashing conclusions is that one should not seek a universal, "correct" resolution of the conflict of the arguments (e.g., a proof to the effect that one of the arguments defeats all the others). Rather, the consideration of each problem in science policy requires a specific weighing up of the arguments as they apply to the particular case. In the concluding section of the paper, we will follow up on this idea and in particular reflect on the ongoing efforts to introduce deliberative procedures into science policy.
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Wilholt T, Glimell H. Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility. In: Carrier M, Nordmann A, eds. Science In The Context Of Application. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274. Dordrecht: Springer; 2011: 351-370.
Wilholt, T., & Glimell, H. (2011). Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility. In M. Carrier & A. Nordmann (Eds.), Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274. Science In The Context Of Application (pp. 351-370). Dordrecht: Springer.
Wilholt, T., and Glimell, H. (2011). “Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility” in Science In The Context Of Application, ed. M. Carrier and A. Nordmann Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274 (Dordrecht: Springer), 351-370.
Wilholt, T., & Glimell, H., 2011. Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility. In M. Carrier & A. Nordmann, eds. Science In The Context Of Application. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 351-370.
T. Wilholt and H. Glimell, “Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility”, Science In The Context Of Application, M. Carrier and A. Nordmann, eds., Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274, Dordrecht: Springer, 2011, pp.351-370.
Wilholt, T., Glimell, H.: Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility. In: Carrier, M. and Nordmann, A. (eds.) Science In The Context Of Application. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274. p. 351-370. Springer, Dordrecht (2011).
Wilholt, Torsten, and Glimell, Hans. “Conditions of Science: The Three-Way Tension of Freedom, Accountability and Utility”. Science In The Context Of Application. Ed. Martin Carrier and Alfred Nordmann. Dordrecht: Springer, 2011. Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 274. 351-370.
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