Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Knowledge and the Public Good

Some key questions for us to reflect on over the summer

What matters most philosophically, knowledge or the way that is attained? For example, should we use the results of Nazi experiments on humans at massively sub zero temperatures even though these results may be perfectly valid and possess and social/commercial utlity? The current consensus is that we shouldn't and the research should proceed ethically. But what does it mean for scientific research to proceed ethically?

More generally, what is the value of scientific knowledge if it causes harm?

If we see the telescope as the basis for the intercontinental ballistic missile, do we need to revisit the myth of 'Galileo the hero' in this context?

Neil Turnbull

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