SOCIAL AND GNOSEOLOGICAL CHALLENGES AND TRANSFORMATIONS OF THE SCIENTIFIC ETHOS (analyzing of the Covid-19 pandemic)
Dobrov Institute for Scientific and Technological Potential and Science History Studies of the NAS of Ukraine
Nauka naukozn. 2023, 1(119): 57—68
Section: Science of Ukraine in the context of contemporary challenges and threats: problems and priorities of development (summaries and scientific reports of the international symposium)
Abstract: On the basis of the analysis of reviews by UNESCO, OECD, the results of the poll “Academic reaction to the COVID-19” conducted by the interdisciplinary scientific journal “Frontiers in Public Health”, and other sources devoted to problems of science, it is shown that search for an outcome from emergency situations, like pandemics or natural disasters, intensifies the epistemological, praxeological and social role of science, increases the need for expert recommendations of scientists, actively engages the methods and principles of “open science”, expands international cooperation and public-private partnership. However, experts have to work in the conditions of “epistemological uncertainty”, i. e. incomplete information, a volatile situation, limited time, and sometimes unclearly set tasks. Therefore, conclusions and recommendations often have to be adjusted, thus creating problems of public trust in science and difficulties in communication with the authorities. An important measure that is supposed to help eliminate the negative phenomena is improving the scientific literacy of the society, especially managers at various levels. Representatives from the government, mass media and the public are expected to possess not only factual knowledge, but competences in the methodology of science: they have to distinguish completed research from preliminary results, expert evaluations from scientific or political journalism, and also understand the logic of scientific debates and the formation of scientific consensus. In addition, the pandemic provokes numerous social challenges and requires interdisciplinary knowledge, including one in the social and humanitarian fields, because problems of mental health, education, economy or culture are also becoming urgent. Scientific ethos in the conditions of social and epistemological challenges constitutes a synthesis of all the known norms, but takes the form necessary for the development of effective mechanisms for overcoming emergency situations. The norms of collectivism, universalism and skepticism become more important, thus enabling the collective search for ways to overcome the disease and the critical consideration of all proposals, when the emphasis is made on problems related to emergency situations, with the enhancement of advisory and expert functions of science.
Keywords: scientific ethos, social challenges, epistemological challenges, COVID-19 pandemics, expertise.
- Schneegans, S., Lewis, J., & Straza, T. (2021). UNESCO Science Report: the Race Against Time for Smarter Development – Executive Summary. Paris: UNESCO Publishing [in Russian].
- OECD (2021). Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook. Times of Crisis and Opportunity. https://doi.org/10.1787/75f79015-en
- Rijs, C., & Fenter, F. (2020). The Academic Respons to COVID-19. Front. Public Heals. 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.621563
- Merton, R. (2006). Social theory and social structure. Moscow: ACT [in Russian].
- Ziman, J. (2000). Real Science: What It is, and What It Means. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511541391
- Macfarlane B., & Cheng M. Communism, Universalism and Disinterestedness: Re-examining Contemporary Support among Academics for Merton’s Scientific Norms. Journal of Academic Ethics. January 2008. URL: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226596731 (last accessed: 20.12.2022).
- Gorbulin, V.P., & Danik, Yu.G. (2020). National security of Ukraine: the focus of priorities in the minds of the pandemic. Visn. Nac. Akad. Nauk Ukr. 5, 3—18 [in Ukrainian].
- Sultanova, L., & Zheludenko, M. (2020). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the development of educational systems in global, European and national dimensions. Adult Education: Theory, Experience, Prospects. 2, 171–183 [in Ukrainian].
- Science, research and innovation performance of the EU (2022). Building a sustainable future in uncertain times European Commission. Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.2777/78826
- Aksoy, C.G., Eichengreen, B., & Saka, O. (2020). Revenge of the Experts: Will COVID-19 Renew or Diminish Public Trust in Science? IZA – Institute of Labor Economics, 13865. URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/232617/1/dp13865.pdf (last accessed: 20.1 2.2022).
- Evans, R. (2022). SAGE advice and political decision-making: «Following the science» in times of epistemic uncertainty. Social Studies of Science. 52, 53—78. https://doi.org/10.1177/03063127211062586
- Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force (2022). Final report of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force. URL: https://sciencetaskforce.ch/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/AbschlussberichtSTF29Mar2022-DE_en_fi nal.pdf (last accessed: 02.01.2023).