The Political Epistemology of Science-Based Policy-Making
Improving the use and impact of science-based policies and practices at the national and transnational level is important for enhancing the quality and legitimacy of democratic governance systems. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the major drivers behind strengthening the creation, application and mediation of scientific expertise for policy-making. Science-based policy-making can take different forms, such as evaluation of practices, implementation of independent or commissioned research, application of quantitative and qualitative analyses, or the development of statistical and environmental monitoring systems. However, scientific evidence is only one among several factors contributing to sound democratic decisions. Scientific expertise needs to be mediated through a complex process of social and political deliberation. The paper aims to identify the main policy challenges behind science advisory bodies and to set out an agenda for rebuilding public trust in science-based policy-making.
KeywordsEpistemology Expertise Normativity Politics Science
- Arimoto, T., & Sato, Y. 2012. Rebuilding Public Trust in Science for Policy-making. Science and Society, 337, 1176–1177.Google Scholar
- Budtz Pedersen, D., & Hendricks, F. H. 2013. Science Bubbles. Philosophy & Technology, 45(3), 250–266.Google Scholar
- Commission, E. 2008. Scientific Evidence for Policy Making. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Research. Brussels.Google Scholar
- Estlund, D. M. 2011. Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- EurActiv. 2013. Top EU scientist calls for ethical standards to ease suspicion of industr, Published 11 April 2013, available at: http://www.euractiv.com [accessed 1 November 2013].
- EuroBarameter 2010. Science and Technology Special Report. Brussels: European Commission. (online version http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_340_en.pdf)
- Gardiner, H., & Broad, W. J. 2009. “Scientists Welcome Obama’s Words”, New York Times. January, 21, 2009.Google Scholar
- Holdren, J.P. 2011. Next Steps to Ensuring Scientific Integrity, Communication from the White House, October 31, 2011 available at: www.whitehouse.gov [accessed 1 November 2013].
- Jasanoff, S. 2009. The Essential Parallel between Science and Democracy, Seed Magazine.com, 17 February 2009.Google Scholar
- Kappel, K. 2012. Democratizing Science: What could it mean?, lecture at the conference “Democratizing Science”, 14 December 2012, University of Copenhagen.Google Scholar
- Lentsch, J., & Weingart, P. (Eds.). 2011. The Politics of Scientific Advice: Institutional Design for Quality Assurance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Nowotny, H., Scott, P., & Gibbons, M. 2001. Re-thinking Science: Knowledge and the Public in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar