Public Trust in Science: Exploring the Idiosyncrasy-Free Ideal

In Kevin Vallier & Michael Weber (eds.), Social Trust. Routledge (2021)
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What makes science trustworthy to the public? This chapter examines one proposed answer: the trustworthiness of science is based at least in part on its independence from the idiosyncratic values, interests, and ideas of individual scientists. That is, science is trustworthy to the extent that following the scientific process would result in the same conclusions, regardless of the particular scientists involved. We analyze this "idiosyncrasy-free ideal" for science by looking at philosophical debates about inductive risk, focusing on two recent proposals which offer different methods of avoiding idiosyncrasy: the high epistemic standards proposal and the democratic values proposal.
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