Advertisement

Explicating Ways of Consensus-Making in Science and Society: Distinguishing the Academic, the Interface and the Meta-Consensus

  • Laszlo Kosolosky
  • Jeroen Van Bouwel
Part of the Ethical Economy book series (SEEP, volume 50)

Abstract

In this chapter, we shed new light on the epistemic struggle between establishing consensus and acknowledging plurality, by explicating different ways of consensus-making in science and society and examining the impact hereof on their field of intersection, i.e. consensus conferences (in particular those organized by the National Institute of Health). We draw a distinction between, what we call, academic and interface consensus, to capture the wide appeal to consensus in existing literature. We investigate such accounts – i.e. from Miriam Solomon, John Beatty and Alfred Moore, and Boaz Miller – as to put forth a new understanding of consensus-making, focusing on the meta-consensus. We further defend how (NIH) consensus conferences enable epistemic work, through demands of epistemic adequacy and contestability, contrary to the claim that consensus conferences miss a window for epistemic opportunity (Solomon M, The social epistemology of NIH consensus conferences. In: Kincaid H, McKitrick J (ed) Establishing medical reality: methodological and metaphysical issues in philosophy of medicine. Springer, Dordrecht, 2007). Paying attention to the dynamics surrounding consensus, moreover, allows us to illustrate how the public understanding of science and the public use of the ideal of consensus could be well modified.

Keywords

Pylorus Infection Consensus Conference Adefovir Dipivoxil Scientific Consensus Rational Deliberation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Research for this chapter was supported by subventions from the Research Foundation (FWO) – Flanders through research project G.0122.10. The authors would in particular like to thank Alfred Moore, Boaz Miller, Carlo Martini, Jan de Winter, Anna Leuschner, the anonymous reviewers and the audiences at TiLPS EPS seminar, EPSA13, VISU2013, SPSP2013, LOBSTER and the Bayreuth2012 workshop for their comments on previous versions of this chapter.

References

  1. Baartmans, T., and L. Kosolosky. in print. Tijdschrift voor Filosofie. Groepsbeslissingen: kwaliteit, autoriteit en vertrouwen. Google Scholar
  2. Beatty, J. 2006. Masking disagreement among scientific experts. Episteme 3(1-2): 52–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beatty, J., and A. Moore. 2010. Should we aim for consensus? Episteme 7(3): 198–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Carrier, M. 2012. Values and objectivity in science: Value-ladenness, pluralism and the epistemic attitude. Science and Education 22(10): 2547–2568.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Churchill, W. 1947. House of Commons speech on Nov. 11, 1947.Google Scholar
  6. De Melo-Martin, I., and K. Intemann. 2013. Scientific dissent and public policy: Is targeting dissent a reasonable way to protect sound policy decisions? European Molecular Biology Organization Reports 14(3): 231–235.Google Scholar
  7. Douglas, H. 2004. The irreducible complexity of objectivity. Synthese 138(3): 453–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. FDA. 2001. Ribavirin and chronic hepatitis C infection. Consumer 35(5): 3.Google Scholar
  9. Gilbert, M. 1987. Modeling collective belief. Synthese 73(1): 185–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gilbert, G.N., and M. Mulkay. 1984. Opening Pandora’s box: A sociological analysis of scientists’ discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Grundmann, R. 2012. The legacy of climategate: Revitalizing or undermining climate science and policy? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 3(3): 281–288.Google Scholar
  12. Hardwig, J. 1991. The role of trust in knowledge. Journal of Philosophy 88(12): 693–708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1990. Consensus development at NIH: Improving the program. Report of a study by a committee of the Institute of Medicine Council on Health Care Technology. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  14. Jorgensen, K.J., P.H. Zahl, and P.C. Gotzche. 2009. Overdiagnosis in organised mammography screening in Denmark. A comparative study. BMC Women's Health 9(1): 36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kanouse, D.E., R.H. Brook, and J.D. Winkler. 1989. Changing medical practice through technology assessment: An evaluation of the National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Program. Santa Monica: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
  16. Kosolosky, L. 2012. The intended window of epistemic opportunity: A comment on Miriam Solomon. In Logic, philosophy and history of science in Belgium II, ed. Bart Van Kerkhove, Thierry Libert, Geert Vanpaemel, and Pierre Marage. Brussel: Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie van België.Google Scholar
  17. Leshner, A., et al. 1999. Report of the working group of the advisory committee to the director to review the office of medical applications of research. At http://www.nih.gov/about/director/060399a.htm. Accessed 8 June 2008.
  18. Longino, H. 1990. Science as social knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Longino, H. 2002. The fate of knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Mansbridge, J., et al. 2010. The place of self-interest and the role of power in deliberative democracy. The Journal of Political Philosophy 18(1): 64–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Martini, C. 2011. Consensus and disagreement in small committees. Phd-thesis. ISBN: 978-94-6191-092-9.Google Scholar
  22. Miller, B. 2013. When is consensus knowledge based? Synthese 190(7): 1293–1316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. National Institutes of Health. 1994. Helicobacter pylori in peptic ulcer disease. NIH consensus statement. February 7–9, 12(1):1–23. Available online: http://consensus.nih.gov/1994/1994HelicobacterPyloriUlcer094PDF.pdf. Accessed on July 7, 2014.
  24. National Institutes of Health. 2000. Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. NIH consensus statement 17 (1):1–45. Available online: http://consensus.nih.gov/2000/2000Osteoporosis111PDF.pdf. Accessed on July 7, 2014.
  25. National Institutes of Health. 2002. Management of hepatitis C. NIH consensus statement 19(3): 1–46. Available online: http://consensus.nih.gov/2002/2002HepatitisC2002116PDF.pdf.
  26. National Institutes of Health. 2008. NIH consensus development conference statement on management of hepatitis B 25(2):1–29. Available online: http://consensus.nih.gov/2008/hepbstatement.pdf. Accessed on July 7, 2014.
  27. National Institutes of Health. Website on the Consensus Development Conference Program. Available online: http://www.consensus.nih.gov. Accessed on July 7, 2014.
  28. National Institutes of Health: Official Site, Web Site: Available online: http://www.nih.gov/. Accessed on July 7, 2014.
  29. Oreskes, N. 2004. Science and public policy: What’s proof got to do with it? Environmental Science and Policy 7: 369–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Perry, S., and J.T. Kalberer. 1980. The NIH consensus-development program and the assessment of health-care technologies: The first two years. The New England Journal of Medicine 303(3): 169–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Primiero, G., and L. Kosolosky. 2013. The semantics of untrustworthiness. Topoi. doi: 10.1007/s11245-013-9227-2.Google Scholar
  32. Reiss, J. 2010. In favour of a Millian proposal to reform biomedical research. Synthese 177: 427–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rolin, K. 2009. Scientific knowledge: A stakeholder theory. In The social sciences and democracy, ed. J. Van Bouwel, 95–119. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Schwetz, B.A. 2001. From the food and drug administration. The Journal of the American Medical Association 286(10): 1166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Solomon, M. 2006. Groupthink vs. the wisdom of the crowds: The social epistemology of deliberation and dissent. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 44(S1): 28–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Solomon, M. 2007. The social epistemology of NIH consensus conferences. In Establishing medical reality: Methodological and metaphysical issues in philosophy of medicine, ed. H. Kincaid and J. McKitrick. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  37. Solomon, M. 2011. Group judgment and the medical consensus conference. In Handbook of the philosophy of science: Philosophy of medicine, ed. D. Gabbay and J. Woods, 239–254. San Diego: North Holland.Google Scholar
  38. Sunstein, C.R. 2006. Deliberating groups versus prediction markets (or Hayek’s challenge to Habermas). Episteme: A Journal of Social Epistemology 3(1): 192–213.Google Scholar
  39. Van Bouwel, J. 2009. The problem with(out) consensus. The scientific consensus, deliberative democracy and agonistic pluralism. In The social sciences and democracy, ed. J. Van Bouwel, 121–142. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wortman, P.M., A. Vinokur, and L. Schrest. 1982. Evaluation of NIH consensus development process. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. NIH-80-301.Google Scholar
  41. Wylie, A. 2006. Socially naturalized norms of epistemic rationality: Aggregation and deliberation. The Southern Journal of Philosophy 44(S1): 43–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceGhent UniversityGentBelgium

Personalised recommendations