Scientific Controversies: Case Studies in the Resolution and Closure of Disputes in Science and Technology

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Hugo Tristram Engelhardt, Arthur L. Caplan
Cambridge University Press, Apr 24, 1987 - Science - 639 pages
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This collection of essays examines the ways in which disputes and controversies about the application of scientific knowledge are resolved. Four concrete examples of public controversy are considered in detail: the efficacy of Laetrile, the classification of homosexuality as a disease, the setting of safety standards in the workplace, and the utility of nuclear energy as a source of power. The essays in this volume show that debates about these cases are not confined to matters of empirical fact. Rather, as is seen with most scientific and technical controversies, they focus on and are structured by complex ethical, economic, and political interests. Drs. Engelhardt and Caplan have brought together a distinguished group of scholars from the sciences and humanities, who sketch a theory of scientific controversy and attempt to provide recommendations about the ways in which both scientists and the public ought to seek more informed resolutions of highly contentious issues in science and technology. Scientific Controversies is offered as a contribution to the better understanding of the roles of both science and nonscientific interests in disputes and controversies pertaining to science and technology.
 

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Contents

Ethical theory and the problem of closure
27
Scientific controversy and its termination
49
The political anatomy of controversy in the sciences
93
Politics public policymaking and the process of reaching
151
The role of experts in scientific controversy
169
The continental drift debate Henry Frankel
203
How history and politics affect closure in biomedical
249
Scientific disputes over policy Allan Mazur
265
Homosexuality
381
On arriving at the American Psychiatric Association
417
Safety in the workplace
437
The successful experiment that failed Marvin S Legator
465
balancing benefits and costs
487
the benzene
505
Nuclear power
529
Three Mile Island
551

Controversies and the authority of science
283
philosophical causes
295
Federal regulation of Laetrile RobertS K Young
333
Quasi libertarianism and the Laetrile controversy
343
pushing
355
Understanding the nuclear power controversy
567
The role of the mass media in scientific controversy
585
The forms and norms of closure Ruth Macklin
615
A uthor index 625 Subject index
632
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