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Responsibilities of scientists and intellectuals

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-L086-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

Do scientists and intellectuals bear responsibilities peculiar to them? If an ‘intellectual’ is whoever has a committed interest in the truth or validity of ideas for their own sake and a ‘scientist’ anyone possessing a special competence in the natural or social sciences, they may indeed be more likely to find themselves in certain characteristic positions of responsibility. In the case of intellectuals, the importance of providing checkable justification of claims made in their pursuit of truth brings certain responsibilities. Scientists may be said to have responsibilities for pursuing truth in their own areas of competence, for wielding their social power appropriately, for making their results generally accessible and for using resources properly. But these apparently special responsibilities are nevertheless to be understood as rooted ultimately in those which any human being may, in the relevant circumstances, be thought to bear to their fellows.

Citing this article:
Montefiore, Alan. Responsibilities of scientists and intellectuals, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-L086-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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