Scientist as Parrhesiastes

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Francesco Scotognella

Subject: Arts & Humanities, Anthropology & Ethnography Keywords: scientific community; Feyerabend; parrhesia

The scientific community of the XX and XXI centuries is a very large companionship, very fragmented and spread all over the world. Moreover, the status of the scientist, which in most cases is a member of the States’ apparati, is significantly different with respect to the one of the scientists up to the First World War.The concepts of scientific revolution of Thomas Kuhn and scientific anarchy of Paul Feyerabend should be reconsidered in this contest. In particular, the anarchist modus operandi should be shifted from the scientific method, that has become significantly standardized with protocols, to the sociology of the scientific community. A pluralism of the scientific method is possible, but an anarchy in the relationships among scientists emerges as more important. The scientist is in many cases a parrhesiastes, a person that says the truth even when he is going to pay because of that, that defends the developed theory or model, by respecting the protocols established in the scientific community. On the other side, each scientist should be a patient beholder that accepts the more solid, and intersubjectively recognized, theories of other scientists.


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