Article ID: CBB829234405

Science, politics and regulation: The trust-based approach to the demarcation problem (2021)


Drawing on literature on values in science and a case-study of UK cancer policy, this paper argues for a novel account of the demarcation project in terms of trustworthiness. The first part of the paper addresses the relationship between science, politics and demarcation. In 2010, the UK government decided to pay more for cancer drugs than for drugs for other diseases; in 2016, this Cancer Drugs Fund was reformed so as to lower the evidential standards for approving cancer drugs, rather than paying more for them. Are these two ways of treating cancer as “special” importantly different? This paper argues that, if we the argument from inductive risk seriously, they seem equivalent. This result provides further reason to doubt the notion of demarcating science from non-science. However, the second part of the paper complicates this story, arguing that considerations of epistemic trust might give us reasons to prefer epistemic communities centred around “broadly acceptable” standards, and which are “sociologically well-ordered”, regardless of inductive risk concerns. After developing these claims through the cancer case-study, the final section suggests how these concerns might motivate novel versions of the demarcation project.

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Authors & Contributors
Hess, Volker
Mount, Jeanine K.
Vrangbæk, Karsten
Larsen, Jakob Bjerg
Kruse, Poul R.
Davis, Courtney
Pharmacy in History
Social History of Medicine
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Science in Context
Social Studies of Science
Korean Journal of Medical History
Princeton University Press
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
MIT Press
Lexington Books
Medicine and government
Legislative and administrative regulations
Pharmaceutical industry
Materia medica
Public policy
United States
Great Britain
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
21st century
United States. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)
Institut Pasteur, Paris
United States. Food and Drug Administration

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