Scientific Progress and Democratic Society through the Lens of Scientific Pluralism

Suranaree Journal of Social Science 17 (2):Article ID e268392 (pp. 1-15) (2023)
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Background and Objectives: In this research article, the researcher addresses the issue of creating public understanding in a democratic society about the progress of science, with an emphasis on pluralism from philosophers of science. The idea that there is only one truth and that there are just natural laws awaiting discovery by scientists has historically made it difficult to explain scientific progress. This belief motivates science to develop theories that explain the unity of science, and it is thought that diversity in the way different ideas presented by scientists is a problem that results in time being wasted in search of the most accurate theory. Some scientists perceive a benefit in having a range of scientific hypotheses, though. One benefit that is frequently cited is that scientific diversity as a whole contributes to the development of a democratic society that permits the expression of a range of viewpoints. The road to accountable scientific pluralism is fraught with difficulties, though. Therefore, it is crucial to take into account both pluralism's advantages and disadvantages. This research aims at: 1. analyzing in an epistemological way the interpretation of scientific theories and the progress of science from the perspectives of scientific pluralists; 2. analyzing the relationship between science and democracy in explaining scientific significance and progress; and 3. synthesizing new knowledge on epistemic dependentism and to argue that it plays a significant role in evaluating research issues related to scientific pluralism. Methodology: The research methodology involves the application of documentary investigation along with philosophical discourse. The method of philosophical argumentation involves analyzing the lines of arguments found in relevant academic publications in order to assess their validity and soundness. Main Results: One key argument of the pluralists is the use of the concept of theoretical pluralism, which suggests that scientific knowledge is created from a variety of perspectives according to the social and cultural context of knowledge creation. It is found that part of Longino's argument is based on the negation of rational/social dichotomy. Moreover, her theory is a departure from philosopher of science Philip Kitcher, who advocates the creation of scientific knowledge and the evaluation of scientific progress through the means of democratic society. He explains that these procedures will lead to "well-ordered science" in democratic society. Discussions: The researcher examines the underlying ideas accepted by these two philosophers of science and finds that although their opinions differ, they have common ground in the acceptance of consensus. However, the views of both philosophers still lack weight in explaining the knowledge itself. The researcher argues that the acceptance of pluralism as a way of understanding scientific progress necessarily lends itself to dependentism, which points to interdependence in comparisons of superiority/inferiority between scientific theories. It is undeniable that the situation has emerged all the time, even though the success of the scientific theories being compared to each other comes from different social and cultural grounds of thought. Conclusions: Some popular models of scientific pluralism in the philosophy of science still lack a compelling justification, particularly on the epistemic grounds. By elucidating the epistemic significance of the interdependence of these things, scientific pluralism can be strengthened by incorporating the notion of epistemic dependentism into the analysis of scientific progress.

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Theptawee Chokvasin
Kasetsart University


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