© 2018

Scientists, Democracy and Society

A Community of Inquirers

  • Examines the relationships between science and democracy from an explicitly pragmatist perspective

  • Argues that scientists and laypeople form a single community of inquiry, which aims at the truth

  • Features many examples and case-studies


Part of the Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning book series (LARI, volume 16)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Pierluigi Barrotta
    Pages 21-47
  3. Pierluigi Barrotta
    Pages 49-82
  4. Pierluigi Barrotta
    Pages 83-106
  5. Pierluigi Barrotta
    Pages 145-180
  6. Pierluigi Barrotta
    Pages E1-E3
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 181-199

About this book


This monograph examines the relationship between science and democracy. The author argues that there is no clear-cut division between science and the rest of society. Rather, scientists and laypeople form a single community of inquiry, which aims at the truth.

To defend his theory, the author shows that science and society are both heterogeneous and fragmented. They display variable and shifting alliances between components. He also explains how information flow between science and society is bi-directional through “transactional” processes. In other words, science and society mutually define themselves. The author also explains how science is both objective and laden with values.

Coverage includes a wide range of topics, such as: the ideal of value-free science, the is/ought divide, “thick terms” and the language of science, inductive risk, the dichotomy between pure science and applied science, constructivism and the philosophy of risk. It also looks at the concepts of truth and objectivity, the autonomy of science, moral and social inquiry, perfectionism and democracy, and the role of experts in democratic societies.

The style is philosophical, but the book features many examples and case-studies. It will appeal to philosophers of science, those in science and technology studies as well as interested general readers.


Science and Democracy Pragmatism science Value-free science Fact value dualism truth objectivity science Pure science philosophy of risk autonomy of science experts in democratic societies Public opinion Local knowledge moral and social inquiry perfectionism democracy Post truth science fake news philosophy Post fact science post truth philosophy post fact philosophy science philosophy society science philosophy democracy

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civilizations and Forms of KnowledgeUniversity of PisaPisaItaly

About the authors

Pierluigi Barrotta (b. 1958) is full Professor of Philosophy of Science and Director of the Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge at the University of Pisa. He has published in history and philosophy of science, the epistemology of economics and the social sciences, the epistemology of environmental sciences, and the dialectical rationality in science. He is currently carrying out research on the relationships between science and democracy.

Bibliographic information