Experts and Laymen in a Democratic Society: Three Perspectives on the Issue of Democratization of Science

Libor Benda



The study approaches the issue of democratization of science, the central question of which is to what extent, if at all, should the public be allowed to intervene in science and research policy and to participate in technical decision-making. The first part of the study is devoted to a presentation of two radically different and contradictory views on this issue, which were developed in the post-war philosophy of science in the works of Michael Polanyi and Paul Feyerabend respectively and which compete in various forms until today. These two views, which confront us with a choice between expertise at the expense of democracy (Polanyi) and democracy at the expense of expertise (Feyerabend), are then subjected to critical evaluation and in opposition to them an alternative view, developed within science studies by Harry Collins and Robert Evans, which transcends the necessity of this choice and, drawing on the sociological research of expertise, offers a way to merge together both expertise and democratic values, is presented.


demokratizace vědy; odbornost; tacitní vědění; zvolený modernismus

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TEORIE VĚDY / THEORY OF SCIENCE – journal for interdisciplinary studies of science is published twice a year by the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Centre for Science, Technology, and Society Studies). ISSN 1210-0250 (Print) ISSN 1804-6347 (Online) MK ČR E 18677 web: /// email: