Fundamental Perils for Scientific Assessments

  • Martin Kowarsch
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 323)


There are some fundamental perils for the role of the sciences in policy, which also affect economic assessments. Based on a discussion of these perils, this chapter identifies the key challenge of bridging scientific expertise and public policy. Section 3.1 provides the background for this by describing that in practice, neither scientific knowledge production nor political decision-making follow simple rationalistic and functionalist ideals. Rather, multiple (often conflicting) motives are involved in, for instance, scientific assessment-making. Yet, scientific assessments can have some desirable influence on policy-making processes if certain requirements are met. Section 3.2 introduces the fundamental problems and perils of scientific policy advice. One of the most challenging issues is the treatment of value judgements, particularly in policy assessments; this issue endangers sound science, policy-relevance and political legitimacy. Section 3.3 provides some examples in terms of existing criticism of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and, finally, Sect. 3.4 identifies the trade-offs between the general norms for scientific expertise in public policy as being the key challenge of scientific expertise in policy. The framework for the IPCC envisaged in this book has to successfully respond to this key challenge.


Climate Policy General Norm Climate Scientist Scientific Expertise Scientific Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Kowarsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)BerlinGermany

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