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ERIC Number: ED147238
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Oct-15
Reference Count: 0
Limits of Inquiry: Straws in the Wind.
The author discusses some reasons for constraints that society places on science. Restraints on scientific inquiry and research are imposed when a scientific pursuit comes into conflict with widely held social values or when the pursuit is questioned in terms of "good science." These restraints reflect different views of the role of free inquiry in society and oppose a tradition of academic and research freedom and contradict the predominant philosophy of science as an open system which is held by the scientific community. Examination of the circumstances which have lead to current rising demands for restrictions on scientific inquiry reveal four components: (1) the scale and rate with which scientific and technological activity has increased make it subject to accountability; (2) professionalization of science and engineering has reached a mature level and can no longer rely on the theory of academic freedom of the First Amendment for protection; (3) the change from an ideology of progress to that of limits or self-denial of technology, is part of the general awareness of limits including limits to natural resources; and (4) changes in attitudes result in a questioning of the theory that all scientific inquiry results in progress. Some ways in which limitations are currently invoked are through requests for impact statements and through lack of financial support. (KC)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Attitude Change, Ethics, Moral Issues, Moral Values, Science History, Sciences, Scientific Attitudes, Scientific Enterprise, Scientific Principles, Scientific Research, Scientists, Social Responsibility, Social Science Research, Sociocultural Patterns, Standards, Technology, Trend Analysis
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 15, l977)