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The Prospects of Institutionalizing the Values of Openness and Mutual Responsiveness in Science and Democracy

The Prospects of Institutionalizing the Values of Openness and Mutual Responsiveness in Science and Democracy

Science can be better fostered in an open, democratic society than in other types of societies. The norm of civic participation in a ‘democracy’ is a lived ideal for citizens, just as the norm of ‘communalism’ is a lived ideal for the scientific community. Both norms presuppose the values of ‘openness’ and 'mutual responsiveness' among scientist and citizens.

This highlights ‘openness’ not as a prescriptive norm but as a value of the institution of science. Simultaneously, ‘openness’ is also an institutional value of a democracy. If we primarily understand the norm of communalism as an institutional value of science, then communalism and openness becomey research virtues for the scientific community rather than prescriptive norms. 

Similarly, ‘voting’ and participation in social-political decision making is considered a civic virtue in a democracy, even though the institution of democracy does not oblige individuals to vote or to participate. Therefore, we do not need to codifying these norma, which can be seen as functional for the operation of science and a democracy therefore represent institutional values. In this way, we can understand governance of the institution of science and democracy through the adoption of appropriate research virtues and civic virtues. 


However, science and democracy are dependent on the extent to which scientist and citizens engage on the basis of these norms. How can we best encourage and incentivise those?

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Rene von schomberg

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Science in an open society; research and democratic culutures

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