Reclaiming Responsibility

Jane Gregory

in The One Culture?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2001 | ISBN: 9780226467221
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226467245 | DOI:
Reclaiming Responsibility

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In science, replications, peer review, and publication in Nature are usually good enough: the end product is usually well on its way to becoming what Bricmont and Sokal might call “reality” or “truth.” And proponents of the public understanding of science have argued that understanding the peer-review and publications processes is key to the public's ability to distinguish reliable from unreliable knowledge. But what happened to Benveniste would be baffling to anyone who understood those processes as generating truths. Bricmont and Sokal call for replications from “independent” scientists, implying that those who had successfully replicated the work had automatically lost their independence by virtue of their success; the marginalization of Benveniste himself over the last decade is surely deterrent enough to any scientist who might attempt a replication now. Bricmont and Sokal also urge the homeopaths to shoulder the burden of proving their claims, and yet when the homeopaths sponsored Benveniste's reputable, state-run lab to investigate their phenomenon, the fact of that sponsorship was used to discredit his results.

Keywords: science studies; public understanding; truth; Bricmont; Sokal; sponsorship

Chapter.  2152 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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