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2003

Science and Technology Law

Cornell University Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Invisible Foundations: Science, Democracy, And Faith Among The Pragmatists, Patrick J. Deneen Mar 2003

Invisible Foundations: Science, Democracy, And Faith Among The Pragmatists, Patrick J. Deneen

Pragmatism, Law and Governmentality

Today science is almost universally regarded as an ally of democracy. Religion - once viewed by Tocqueville as the great support of democratic mores, in contrast to the materialism of then-contemporary atheists who threatened to undermine democratic commitments - is now viewed by many as antithetical to the openness and provisionality that marks both science and democracy. As framed by the neo-pragmatist Richard Rorty, religion is a "conversation-stopper," the very definition of anti-democratic, anti-scientific anti-pragmatism.

Whereas a pragmatic form of faith, notably "democratic faith," secures belief in an ever improving future, the "politics of skepticism" is reinforced by the initial embrace of ...