Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Increases in science's ability to affect individuals' lives bring about calls for more direct social control over scientific research. Defenders of the scientific tradition usually counter these calls by suggesting (a) that any external control would mean the end of scientific enterprise, and (b) that such control would prove impractical. This dissertation investigates whether these suggestions can be developed into conclusive arguments.;One would expect that if sound arguments against social control are to be found, they will be found in the varied methodologies of science which litter the philosophical field. A scrutiny of several prominent methodologists' writings shows that this expectation is in vain. Moreover, it uncovers reasons why a conclusive argument against such control cannot be found in the mainstream.;Modern methodologies oscillate between the poles of prescriptivism and descriptivism. Descriptive methodologies can only paint pictures of how science is done. They may discover that external control is seldom found in research, but they must prescind from any evaluation of such findings. Only a prescriptive methodology, one which prescribes how science ought to be performed, can hope to present strong reasons against control. But it could do so only if it could show both that the goal of science is a worthwhile one, and that only a science free of external control can expect to attain it. None of the standard methodologies in the field even attempt the first task.;The dissertation then turns from the mainstream to consider the Jurgen Habermas's attempt to establish what the goals of the sciences should be. Habermas tries to show that these goals can be rationally grounded in deep-seated human needs which cannot be gainsaid. Unfortunately, at the current stage of its development his argument remains inconclusive.;No argument has been found to show that social control over science is illegitimate. But can a means of control be found which is effective yet selective? Two methods are suggested in the writings of those writers considered here: Feyerabendian anarchism and Habermasian control by professionals. The advantages and disadvantages of each proposal are briefly considered.;In the end it is concluded that while no one has proven that control over scientific research is illegitimate, no one has offered a clear picture of how such control could be exercised.
Griener, Glenn Gerard, "On The Social Control Of Science" (1985). Digitized Theses. 1397.