Scientific pluralism, a normative endorsement of the plurality or multiplicity of research approaches in science, has recently been advocated by several philosophers (e.g., Stephen Kellert, Helen Longino, and C. Kenneth Waters 2006, Philip Kitcher 2001, Helen Longino 2013, Sandra Mitchell 2009, and Hasok Chang 2010). Comparing these accounts of scientific pluralism, one will encounter quite some variation. We want to clarify the different interpretations of scientific pluralism by showing how they incarnate different models of democracy, stipulating the desired interaction among the plurality of research approaches in different ways.

Furthermore, the example of scientific pluralism is used to advocate the application of democratic theory to philosophy of science problems in general. Drawing on the parallels between models of science and models of democracy, we can articulate how the plurality of research approaches in science should interact within a democratic framework as well as how to cultivate multiple research approaches in the epistemically most productive way possible. This will not only improve our understanding of scientific plurality, but it can also help us stipulating how different research approaches should interact to constitute the most objective account possible or how the ideal of scientific consensus has to be understood. Ultimately, developing democratic models of science bears on the question of how deeply science and democracy are entwined.

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