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Between Enlightenment and Disaster

Dimensions of the political Use of Knowledge


Edited By Linda Sangolt

Modern politics is highly science-dependent and knowledge-driven. What is the rightful role of expert knowledge in political life? How can the truth claims of science be reconciled with principles of democratic control and lay participatory rights in decision-making?
This collection of essays by political scientists, sociologists and economists from Germany, France and Norway provides different empirical and theoretical analyses of the complex organising and legitimising power of knowledge in political governance. The authors shed light on key dimensions and dilemmas that have shaped the world-changing interrelations between politics, social institutions and scientific knowledge in the past century.
The contributions cover issue-areas and policy-fields such as population control, health economics, ICTs and higher education reform, and the politics of productivity and economic pre-eminence.


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Epistemic Certainty Questioned.On Science Wars and Scientific Revolutions 29


Epistemic Certainty Questioned On Science Wars and Scientific Revolutions' Peter WAGNER Introduction There are periods in human history during which the perennial dis- cussion about knowledge resorts to politico-military metaphors. Thus, from the middle of the 20t1i century onwards, the term "scientific revolu- tion" was increasingly used to refer to those changes in the human view of the world that emerged between the late sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries and brought about what we now tend to call "modern science."2 More recently, we hear of "science wars," and although the major battle-ground seems to be in North America, some hostilities have also been observed in other parts of the world. Between revolutions and wars, there is a deep connection. lt is a fea- ture of revolutions in the modern sense of the term to aim at spreading their impact beyond their place of origin, and they often do so by mili- tary means. Just as often, though, and only partly in response to revolu- tionary wars, the resistance to revolution also resorts to violent means. Such wars are then wars against revolutions, counter-revolutionary wars. Furthermore, it is also true that revolutions tend to occur at the end of wars, when there often is a desire to build some new order. But we will come back to this question only at the end of our reflections. Given that both these terms, "scientific revolution" and "science wars," are creatures of the 20th century and have somewhat uncertain temporal connotations, it is...

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