Public trust in science: Exploring the idiosyncrasy-free ideal

Marion Boulicault, S. Andrew Schroeder

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

What makes science trustworthy to the public? This chapter examines one answer: the trustworthiness of science is based in part on its independence from the idiosyncratic values, wishes and interests of individual scientists. That is, science is trustworthy to the extent that following the scientific method would result in the same conclusions, regardless of the particular scientists involved. This “idiosyncrasy-free ideal” (IFI) for science has intuitive appeal and an important history, yet we don't think it has received the kind of detailed consideration it deserves. After briefly reviewing its history, we shed new light on the IFI by looking at how it features in philosophical debates concerning inductive risk. We focus on two recent proposals for avoiding idiosyncrasy when balancing inductive risk: that scientists should uniformly adopt high epistemic standards; and that scientists should uniformly adopt standards arrived at by democratic procedures. We end by proposing a hybrid of these two proposals and argue it provides a promising ground for public trust in science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Trust
EditorsKevin Vallier, Michael Weber
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Chapter5
Number of pages20
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781003029786
ISBN (Print)9780367458454, 9780367768089
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy
PublisherRoutledge

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