The evaluation of scientific research in democratic societies: Kitcher, Rawls and the approach of scientific significant truths

Revista Redbioética/UNESCO 2 (4):43-60 (2011)
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This paper critically assesses the model of evaluation of scientific research for democratic societies defended by Philip Kitcher. The “significant truth” approach proposes a viable alternative to two classic images of science: that of the “critics”, who believe that science always serves the interests of the powerful and that of the “faithful”, who argue that the pursuit of scientific knowledge is always valuable and necessary. However, the democratic justification of Kitcher’s proposal is not compatible with the ethical problems generated by the international biomedical research in developing countries. To overcome this problem, I revise the national democratic framing of the significant truth approach in light of the theory of justice of John Rawls
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