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Science in a Democratic Society Hardcover – August 23, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1616144074 ISBN-10: 1616144076

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616144076
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616144074
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #814,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Kitcher's new book is an outstanding contribution to the more recent social and political turn of philosophy of science. It's a stunning piece of work and the right kind of study we need." --Martin Carrier, professor of philosophy Bielefeld University, Germany

"Starting from the principles of an epistemic division of labor and the fullest possible political engagement of citizens in a democracy, philosopher Philip Kitcher has rethought the meaning of public knowledge from the ground up. The result is a blueprint for a new relationship between science and citizens that takes us beyond the confrontation of arrogant experts and ignorant laypeople. At once practical and visionary, this lucid book should be read by anyone who cares about the future of science—and the future of democracy." --Lorraine Daston, director, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

"Not free inquiry, but the good of society democratically determined is the ideal by which science should be governed, argues Kitcher in this radical yet eminently reasonable book. Essential reading for anyone interested in science, science policy, or the future of the human race." --Michael Strevens, professor of philosophy, New York University

"In this book, Kitcher takes on some of the most urgent problems of our times, prodding us to give them the attention they require. In doing so, he offers us an invaluable gift." --Evelyn Fox Keller, Professor Emerita Program in Science, Technology, and Society, MIT

"Kitcher's focus in this book is on a problem that is both practically urgent and intellectually challenging: how, given the current erosion of trust in scientific expertise, should a commitment to democracy shape the institutions of science and what role should scientific expertise play in democratic political decisions? Kitcher not only performs the invaluable service of framing the issues in a clear-headed way; he also points toward plausible answers to the questions he poses. By his own example, he shows how valuable the role of public intellectual can be." --Allen Buchanan, PhD, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Law, Duke University

"In this deeply thoughtful book, Philip Kitcher brilliantly probes the tensions in values between expert science and lay democracy that pervade current conflicts over public knowledge and policy. With an eye to fraught issues such as Darwinism in the schools and global warming, he boldly questions the seemingly unquestionable, including the value of absolute scientific autonomy, the privatization of research, and the pursuit of both knowledge without social obligation and social purposes without knowledge. A masterful and timely work." --Dan Kevles, Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University and the author of, among other works, The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America

"In this excellent complement to Science, Truth and Democracy, Kitcher offers a convincing elaboration and defense of his proposal for 'well-ordered science.' His arguments are profound yet resolutely reasonable and accessible, with his signature combination of philosophical erudition and plain good sense. Kitcher's mastery of the epistemology of science is unquestioned, but the wisdom in this volume also comes in the form of searching deliberations about ethics and human values. This should be required reading for anyone thinking about the proper place of science in a good society." --Hasok Chang, Hans Rausing Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge

About the Author

Philip Kitcher (New York, NY) is John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of twelve books, including Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith; In Mendel’s Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology; Science, Truth, and Democracy; and The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities. Professor Kitcher was the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize awarded by the American Philosophical Association for "lifetime contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science." He is also the winner of many other awards, most recently the Award for Distinguished Service to the Columbia Core Curriculum, the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award from Columbia University, the Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award (given for Living with Darwin), and the Friend of Darwin Award (given by the National Committee on Science Education).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A very thoughtful discussion of the role of science in a democratic society. This book is an extension and a signficant modification of his prior book, Science, Truth, and Democracy. In that book, Kitcher put forward the concept of "well ordered science," aform of institutional organization of science that would make it more responsive to real public needs and democratic governance. In Science, Truth,..., Kitcher expressed particular concern with use of science by powerful interests. In Science in a ...., Kitcher has somewhat different major concerns. He is now most concerned with public attacks on science and distrust of science. A good deal of Science in a... is concerned with reconciling a democratic society in which all have a voice in certain basic decisions and the need for specialized knowledge in a complex world.

Kitcher proposes an "epistemic division of labor" in which basic moral and political decisions are developed by some form of democratic process with all having a voice and demarcated areas where specialist knowledge receives deference. To develop well ordered science in this context, Kitcher suggests the development of institutional adjustments in which the democratic public plays a role is some aspects of administering science such as lay input in the selection of important research areas. As a complement, Kitcher encourages scientists to be more cognizant of their public responsibilities and to recognize that science is not "value neutral."

Kitcher does not recommend these changes in a vacuum. He also advocates significant changes in society as a whole. Kitcher presents a precis of another major program which he terms The Ethical Project.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on February 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The scientific process is the most important contributor to our growing knowledge about this world. Faced with global issues that demand both research and urgency, the status of science in even the most affluent of societies is continuously called into question. The philosopher Philip Kitcher, recognizing the concerns that many critics have about our world's problems and science, gives a fair but powerful defense of the need for science in society. He addresses the concerns many have about the scientific process, and the social and political factors that play in developing well-ordered research. Emphasizing the need for transparency in scientific research and recognizing the call for democratic considerations in the direction of publicly funded research, Kitcher provides practical insights for developing a secure place for science in modern society.
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By Patricia M. on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Why is the book's authorship not attributed to Kitcher in the hyperlink, but to Susan Schneider?!
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By Corinne on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is best described as full. Full of so many thoughts, points, and facts. It brings about many questions of our society, which can be considered for hours.
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More About the Author

Philip Kitcher (New York, NY) is John Dewey Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He is the author of twelve books, including Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith; In Mendel's Mirror: Philosophical Reflections on Biology; Science, Truth, and Democracy; and The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities. Professor Kitcher was the first recipient of the Prometheus Prize awarded by the American Philosophical Association for "lifetime contribution to expanding the frontiers of research in philosophy and science." He is also the winner of many other awards, most recently the Award for Distinguished Service to the Columbia Core Curriculum, the Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Award from Columbia University, the Lannan Foundation Notable Book Award (given for Living with Darwin), and the Friend of Darwin Award (given by the National Committee on Science Education).

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