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Inspired by the Arendtian distinction between the social and the political, this essay offers a critique of the tendency to frame the relationship between (scientific) expert knowledge and (political) democracy as a social issue or conflict between ‘ordinary citizens’ and ‘scientific experts’ as social groups. A tentative analysis explores the role of scientific expertise in democracies viewed as a practical issue in the classical, Aristotelian sense. It is suggested that the notions of praxis and practical reasoning as phronesis offer a framework that allows citizenship to scientists and might facilitate the integration of scientific knowledge into public deliberation on public affairs, but also would direct attention to the limitations of science.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Scientists, Other Citizens, and the Art of Practical Reasoning

Inspired by the Arendtian distinction between the social and the political, this essay offers a critique of the tendency to frame the relationship between (scientific) expert knowledge and (political) democracy as a social issue or conflict between ‘ordinary citizens’ and ‘scientific experts’ as social groups. A tentative analysis explores the role of scientific expertise in democracies viewed as a practical issue in the classical, Aristotelian sense. It is suggested that the notions of praxis and practical reasoning as phronesis offer a framework that allows citizenship to scientists and might facilitate the integration of scientific knowledge into public deliberation on public affairs, but also would direct attention to the limitations of science.

 

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