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The Progressives' CenturyPolitical Reform, Constitutional Government, and the Modern American State$
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Stephen Skowronek, Stephen M Engel, and Bruce Ackerman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780300204841

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300204841.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

A Century of Reason

A Century of Reason

Experts and Citizens in the Administrative State

Chapter:
(p.382) 17 A Century of Reason
Source:
The Progressives' Century
Author(s):

Sheila Jasanoff

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300204841.003.0018

This chapter rejects any a priori division between finding facts and determining values. It takes as its starting point the basic proposition of science and technology studies that, in the policy domain, resolving matters of fact inevitably entails resolving questions that are part of politics. Epistemic and normative orders are, in this respect, coproduced. From this standpoint, delegation to experts—authorizing the few to know for the many—is not simply a question of deciding who knows best about the factual matter at hand. It involves a characterization of the public's intellectual capacity, in particular its ability to understand and critique exercises of expert judgment. During the hundred or so years since the end of the Progressive era, two broad movements have sought to balance the demands of scientific and political representation in the United States. One is a wide-ranging effort to create administrative forums and processes through which laypeople can access and question technical information, and thus enjoy greater parity with experts. The second is a characterization of the political subject as hampered by built-in cognitive biases and unable to recognize its own interests, let alone to further them through rational action.

Keywords:   Progressive era, Progressives, science and technology studies, experts, democracy, scientific representation, political representation

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