Political and Commercial Interests in the BSE Inquiry

  • Louise Cummings


The account of the reasoning of BSE scientists in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 has emphasised logical and epistemic features of argument to the exclusion of a vast range of other factors that have an influence on the reasoning process. These factors, which include psychological states and emotions as well as a range of vested interests, are as significant determinants of the reasoning process as are the logical factors that have traditionally been the focus of study by theorists of reasoning. In the context of the UK’s BSE epidemic, two main types of interest were never far from the risk assessments and other decisions arrived at by scientists. These interests included political considerations of various shades and the concerns of commercial organisations connected to the British beef industry. The role of these interests during the BSE crisis varied from that of directly influencing scientific decision-making and other judgements to creating contexts in which only certain views and opinions could be readily expressed.


Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Logical Ground Bone Meal Chief Medical Officer Argumentative Strategy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesNottingham Trent UniversityNottinghamUK

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