In this paper, I argue that while scientific knowledge is both an intrinsic and an instrumental good, good science does not consist in maximizing such knowledge without regard to anything else. Rather, like the good life, or the good society, good science requires a careful weighing and balancing of knowledge as a value and the values of a free society, including the rule of law, the inviolability of human rights, and the constraints of social justice. Science is, and should be, committed to knowledge and truth, but a science committed only to knowledge and truth is a hostage to fortune, and may find itself, at every turn, allied with inhumanity and injustice, ultimately undermining, thereby, the very possibility of a free society and of free inquiry along with it. Various historical cases of morally tainted scientific knowledge are brought up and discussed along these lines.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology