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The Fight Against DoubtHow to Bridge the Gap Between Scientists and the Public$
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Inmaculada de Melo-Martín and Kristen Intemann

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190869229

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190869229.001.0001

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The Important Roles of Dissent

The Important Roles of Dissent

2 The Important Roles of Dissent
The Fight Against Doubt

Inmaculada de Melo-Martín

Kristen Intemann

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers an overview of the ways in which dissent from a scientific consensus is epistemically valuable. It contends that dissent furthers scientific progress in various ways, including correcting false empirical assumptions, providing alternative ways of conceiving phenomena, and challenging value judgments. Dissent can also strengthen the justification for consensus views as such views are more likely to be reliable when they survive critical scrutiny, than if they go unchallenged. Similarly, dissent can foster warranted public trust in science because it can assure the public that scientific inquiry is an open and critical process. The chapter also points out that because dissent has these benefits, it imposes epistemic obligations on scientific communities.

Keywords:   scientific dissent, epistemic benefits, social benefits, epistemic obligation, open venue, uptake, diversity, equality, intellectual authority

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