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KLI Colloquium - "Values in Science: Where Are We Now?" (Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University)
Abstract: Do doctors really know what they are talking about when they tell us vaccines are safe? Should we take climate experts at their word when they warn us about the perils of global warming? Why should we trust science when our own politicians don’t? In my talk I offer a compelling defense of science, revealing why the social character of scientific knowledge is its greatest strength—and the greatest reason we can trust it. Using works from the history and philosophy of science from the late nineteenth century to today, I will argue that, contrary to popular belief, there is no single scientific method. Rather, the trustworthiness of scientific claims derives from the social process by which they are rigorously vetted. This process is not perfect—nothing ever is when humans are involved—but I will draw vital lessons during the talk from cases where scientists got it wrong. I show how consensus is a crucial indicator of when a scientific matter has been settled, and when the knowledge produced is likely to be trustworthy.

Jun 10, 2021 03:00 PM in Vienna

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