Science and expertise in the post-truth age

Lecture and discussion with Harry Collins

Though constructivist "Science, Technology and Society" (STS) may not have been the cause of anti-truth/expertise sentiments associated with Brexit and Trump it is consistent with them and has no argument against them. Horribly, the ‘third wave’ of science studies, though it was initiated in 2002, seems to have found its moment. The third wave pushes against post-truth on two fronts: there is the expertise front, which substitutes expertise for truth. From this comes the Periodic Table of Expertises and the new idea of interactional expertise. All experts are at least interactional experts so the Imitation Game is a test for the necessary if not sufficient condition of being an expert – it will be briefly explained. The second front is science as a source of values. Science and democracy have overlapping values. Because the quintessence of the form of life of science is the search for truth there is a hope that science can act as a lead institution in respect of the values of democratic societies – if you lie and cheat you are no longer doing science but you can lie and cheat and still be doing, say, banking. All our once leading professions have been corrupted; science may be one the last hopes.

This topic will be presented by Prof. Harry Collins and after that discussed with Prof. Martin Reinhart. The presentation is open for students and academics. After the discussion there will be some snacks in the lobby to have the possibility for networking.

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