The Authority of Science: Is science just another voice in the policy debate?

Co-presented with the Tilburg Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science, Tilburg University, and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, University of Sydney

Watch the first part of the Slow TV recording below, or watch the full recording on the Slow TV website.

8 April, 2011

From climate change to the classification of illegal drugs the extent to which scientific opinion should prevail over other voices in determining public policy is hotly contested. What is it about the nature of science that confers epistemic authority on scientific opinion, and what are the scope and limits of that authority?

Join us for a roundtable discussion between four distinguished academics with extensive experience of the science-policy interface. Their perspectives on the authority of science in practice provide a vital and challenging context for all those committed to the practice of contemporary science and its application in public policy.


  • Chaired by Paul Willis, ABC TV science program Catalyst
  • Professor Theodore L Brown, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and author of Imperfect Oracle: The Epistemic and Moral Authority of Science
  • Professor David Castle, Chair of Innovation in the Life Sciences, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Christian List, Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at the London School of Economics
  • Professor Rosemary Lyster, inaugural Professor of Climate and Environmental Law at the University of Sydney

This event opened the 4th Sydney-Tilburg conference on the philosophy of science, The Authority of Science at the University of Sydney.