This course begins on April 20th, 4.15 PM in room GABF 05/707.

Legitimate public decision-making must respect two constraints. One is represented by the respect of equality. This constraint is operationalized through a fair democratic procedure. The other constraint is represented by the quality of the decisions. Namely, we do not expect from a public decision-making procedure
only to be fair but to arrive at good decisions, as outputs. Philosophers have feared that the two constraints cannot be satisfied at the same time (Plato, John Stuart Mill). The problem is visible, in contemporary world, through science denials, fake news, etc., which are present and influential in various societies. The seminar
analyses the possibility to include scientific reasons as part of what confers legitimacy to democratic decisions. The basic idea is that, at least those decisions that are fundamental for the respect of basic rights and liberties, should not obtain legitimacy only as outputs of fair procedures, but must be sustained through reasons that all persons can accept as reasonable. Scientific reasons are among such reasons. The most challenging problem is not, however, in favouring scientific reasons over science denials, fake news, etc.
Rather, a difficulty presents itself when there is no consensus inside the scientific community, while at the same time the postponement of public decisions is not possible. This has frequently happened in the actual pandemic. Together with justifying public decisions based on science, over rivals represented by science denial, pseudoscience, etc, the seminar analyses possibilities to manage such situations.
Semester: ST 2024