By Brian Rappert (auth.)
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Extra resources for Biotechnology, Security and the Search for Limits: An Inquiry into Research and Methods
In light of the significance of the issues being debated, major questions can also be asked about the conduct and purpose of research into dual use. Chapter 1 has provided an initial suggestion of the choices and challenges in the examination of dual-use life science research. Those choices and challenges refer to substantive concerns about life science research as well as more conceptual concerns with the analysis of ‘the problem’ of dual use. For both, crucial questions can be raised about what needs doing and what is at stake in how research is approached.
17 For every supposed norms of science (such as disinterestedness and impartially evaluating claims), he argued that one could find scientists citing the importance of so-called ‘counter norms’ (such as emotional involvement and the evaluation of claims because of their source). While openness is often said to be central to science, secrecy was seen by those interviewed as minimizing disputes about who has discovered what while ensuring standards of reliability. The alternation between conflicting norms was not a cause for criticism for Mitroff, but rather a necessary social condition for individuals trying to cope with contingent and complex situations.
As he argued, informal communications between scientists about areas of disagreement can be unproductive in resolving differences when those exchanges are characterized by the empiricist Discussing Science 43 repertoire that appears in formal texts. This is because, in such exchanges, individuals presume the factual and obvious status of their own claims, while dismissing others’ beliefs as fiction resulting from non-scientific factors. This made it difficult to establish a dialogue in which the interpretations and reasoning for appraisals could be jointly considered.
Biotechnology, Security and the Search for Limits: An Inquiry into Research and Methods by Brian Rappert (auth.)