Ben-David’s Critique of the Sociology of Knowledge and His Politics of Freedom

  • Yaron Ezrahi
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 302)


This chapter focuses on Ben-David’s normative notion of science and its relation to an ‘open’, rationality-focused society. Like a range of his contemporaries, Ben-David believed in the enlightenment function of science and in the associated benefits accrued to society. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a social contract in place which accorded universities and research centers a high degree of autonomy, and academia and the respective societies were both profiting from this consensual arrangement.

This situation changed slowly during the subsequent years: the role of science and scientists changed, and the reflection on science transformed itself as well. Against this backdrop Ben-David’s idealization of the autonomy of science had become somewhat anachronistic; but the science community is still called upon to share Ben-David’s persistent passionate concern to preserve the integrity of science and the cultural foundations of the politics of freedom in contemporary society.


Liberal Democracy Authoritarian Regime Cultural Foundation Collective Representation Liberal Individualism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, The Division for Development and Public RelationsThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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