A human rights approach to scientific progress: The Deontic framework

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

The chapter starts with an analysis of the ‘right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications’ (REBSP). Its long history goes back to the UN Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in 1966. Its importance and patchy implementation were reiterated by the UNESCO Venice Statement in 2009. The chapter offers a diagnosis for the patchy implementation to date, back to a number of assumptions about scientific knowledge and its progressive nature that are common to what Massimi calls the ‘manifest image’ of progress and the ‘philosophical image’. The chapter offers a different image of scientific knowledge and its growth, building on Massimi’s work on perspectival realism. It urges replacing individuals with situated epistemic communities, the siloed picture with interlacing scientific perspectives and a view of progress sub specie aeternitatis or ‘from here now’ with one of progress ‘from within’. The chapter lays out the contours of a possible ‘deontic framework’ as a way of reinterpreting the core content of REBSP in light of perspectival realism. By doing so, the REBSP can be read as a ‘cosmopolitan right’ no longer trapped between the strictures of individual rights versus the rights of the communities to share in it. This epistemic shift brings with it much-needed ‘cosmopolitan obligations’ when it comes to sharing in scientific knowledge and its advancements. It has ultimately the potential to change the legal landscape where the prescriptive force of REBSP currently remains delegated to the good will of individual nations ratifying ICESCR.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Philosophical Perspectives on Scientific Progress
EditorsYafeng Shan
PublisherLondon & NY: Routledge
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781003165859
ISBN (Print)9780367760557
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in the Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'A human rights approach to scientific progress: The Deontic framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this