Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Discerning ExpertsThe Practices of Scientific Assessment for Environmental Policy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Michael Oppenheimer, Naomi Oreskes, Dale Jamieson, Keynyn Brysse, Jessica O'Reilly, Matthew Shindell, and Milena Wazeck

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226601960

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226602158.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 29 July 2021

Patrolling the Science/Policy Border

Patrolling the Science/Policy Border

Chapter:
(p.171) Chapter Five Patrolling the Science/Policy Border
Source:
Discerning Experts
Author(s):

Michael Oppenheimer

Naomi Oreskes

Dale Jamieson

Keynyn Brysse

Jessica O’Reilly

Matthew Shindell

Milena Wazeck

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226602158.003.0005

A twentieth-century tradition of distinguished scientists offering policy advice has in the twenty-first century mostly given way to large, international, and highly bureaucratic assessments by hundreds or thousands of “rank-and-file” scientists, whose charge is to inform but not recommend policy. Epistemic authority has apparently shifted from the stature and reliability of individual scientists having generalized competence to the institutional process of bringing together many experts with a range of domain-specific knowledge. Large assessments often seek to establish their objectivity by pursuing a strategy of “balance of bias.” They include assessors from a range of genders, countries, disciplines, and perspectives. They often attempt to demonstrate credibility by being “policy relevant but not policy prescriptive.” Instead of recommending a policy, they present a range of scenario options for policymakers to choose from. However, the very existence of an assessment suggests that there is a problem about which something should be done, and the choice of which options to present is already politically infused. Moreover, even in the twenty-first century there remains a need for individual scientists to act as sentinels where their expertise is proximate. However, scientists should be reticent regarding interventions in which their expertise is not central to the issue.

Keywords:   fact–value distinction, science–policy boundary, neutrality, objectivity, scientist as sentinel

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.