Expertise that matters. On Dewey’s understanding of relevant science
Keywords:Dewey, expertise, science, democracy, public sphere, C.S. Peirce, pragmatic maxim, fundamental and application-oriented research
AbstractExpertise is much contested in modern democracies. In this article I shall investigate whether Dewey’s understanding of science and expertise provides us with some answers about the interplay between science, the public and society. Decisive for Dewey’s vision of the relation of democracy and science is that epistemic qualities and what he calls “organized intelligence” should contribute to find the best solutions for human wellbeing and growth. Science and expertise that can live up to this purpose are relevant from a pragmatic viewpoint. I shall suggest a reading of Peirce’s pragmatic maxim as a test for relevance that can be used to conceptualize a pragmatic version of science and expertise in the public interest.
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