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  • Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue, “Rationalized and Extended Democracy”: Inserting public scientists into the legislative/executive framework, reinforcing citizens’ participation (31 comments)

    • Comment by Richard French on 21 March 2022

      Giovanni Tagliabue thinks democracy is broken and there is lots of evidence that he has a point. He also thinks that science – or rather, scientists – can fix it without discarding the legitimacy which the popular vote confers. The mechanism is to be a bicameral system, one chamber of which, if I am not mistaken, will look more or less like our current legislatures, and the other of which will be composed of scientists and academics, elected by their peers. Legislation would require reconciliation between the two chambers; if the differences turn out to be insuperable, the people would choose in a referendum.
      His exposition of this idea is supported by great erudition and extensive reference to the literature. His argument will be highly controversial, as no one else has ever gone to quite as much effort to document the case as practice, nor has been quite as optimistic about the political culture and role of experts, who are portrayed as more or less immune to the many pathologies of democratic representation. His challenge to the conventional wisdom is extensive and thorough-going. Whether his vision is viable or not, the issues he raises merit our attention and concern, and he is to be congratulated for his dedication to raising them.

      Richard French
      University of Ottawa

      Professor French’s comment is particularly valuable, owing to his dual experience as an academic and an elected official (former Member of the National Assembly as well as Minister of Communications in Quebec), therefore being well placed to make observations on my hypothesis of “professors on politics”, to paraphrase the title of an interesting article by Professor French himself (see in the References). His kindly expressed scepticism is welcome.
      But a basic misunderstanding regarding my imagined institutional framework must be corrected: in my view, academics who stand to be elected in the National Scientific Assembly (or similar bodies at more restricted geographical levels) are NOT elected “by their peers”, but by the general electorate (universal suffrage) – as traditional party politicians would still be in the parallel legislative chambers and bodies. Otherwise, it would be a half-epistocracy: an arrangement which is actually proposed by other authors; I reject it on the grounds that it would be a betrayal of a basic democratic principle.
      Furthermore, I am not so blindly optimistic to believe that elected scientists would be “immune to the many pathologies of democratic representation”; but I argue that they would have incentives and motivations which can be in good part different (aiming more at the common good) from those which guide the dynamics of party politicians. I understand that I should stress this point more in the amended/enriched version of my text, which will follow the collection of reviewers’ comments.

      From Frank Vibert, associate. CARR/LSE.

      ‘In recent times democracies have followed a ‘ dual processing’ approach to policy making relying not only on elected assemblies and governments but increasingly on expert bodies. One important question is about the relationship between the two forms of policy making. Procedures to bring the two together range from the greater use of citizen consultations by regulators to the use of Independent Fiscal Institutions by parliaments. The author argues in favour of the greater use of the technique of direct democracy and, much more radically, in favour of setting up elected bodies of experts to co-legislate alongside traditional representative bodies. It is a well argued contribution to an important debate .

      Thanks for the comment to Professor Vibert, who is an expert in the field of unelected policymakers i.e. non-majoritarian institutions such as independent authorities.

      Comment by davidbertioli on 23 June 2022

      Science, or as it used to be called, Natural Philosophy, has become divorced from Philosophy. The result is that modern Science, although incredibly powerful in discovering details of the natural world, is woefully inept in whole philosophical fields, such as ethics and political philosophy.

      What a delight to see this book from Prof. Giovanni Tagliabue! It lays out so much, so clearly, and makes thought-provoking proposals to overcome the limitations of our current political systems.

      Thanks to Dr. Bertioli, a Canadiam plant geneticist who works on the creation/breeding of improved cultivars. Since he is involved in regulatory matters regarding agri-food biotechnologies, I would appreciate a further comment from him: does he think that a renewed institutional framework of the kind I have outlined would help legislation and governmental action to be better science-informed? (By the way, it is worth noting that Canada is one of the few – if not the only – jurisdiction in the world in which agri-food regulation follows some basic scientific principles.)

      Comment by deborah piovan on 1 September 2022

      A scientific approach on the political decision-making process is urgent and useful. How to do that is the “rub”. Considering that politicians tend to follow, not to lead, I suggest involving society at large in the making of the REDemo strategy. Changes happen when society presses its leaders. Also, involving media is crucial: only when an evidence-based approach pays (be it in politics or in media communication) it will be implemented; favoring a pre-airing pr pre-printing fact-checking on TV and press, making it desirable to viewers and readers, could be key.
      An assembly of scientists democratically elected and democratically making decisions is subject to the same issues of democracy itself: you are planning ways to contain the search for consensus, but this remains a crucial aspect of decision making, by definition.
      To conclude, appointing or electing scientists is a good way to find evidence-based solutions, but is by no means a guarantee to be able to do that. We have experience of scholars, and not few, come to that, that bend their opinions and policy suggestions to the whims of politicians or of society, a society whose wishes are often forged by marketing and by fearmongerers, politicians who tend to give society what is easy to give in the short period.
      Including social, inter-generational and environmental (climatic, too) responsibility in national constitutions might help. Making ex ante evaluations on policies compulsory might help.
      To conclude, very interesting considerations, I read them with great interest.

      Comment by Ian Boyd on 2 September 2022

      The author deconstructs the rationale and processes of democracy to expose many of its weaknesses, or its “defective framework”. He sees it as holding many of the vices of a Machiavellian-Schumpeterian view of the world where, broadly, politics is seen as a competition between those within the political classes rather than a representation of the balance of public opinion or a process for achieving a broad consensus. He suggests this problem needs to be addressed.

      While this is a critique of democracy it is not an endorsements of anti-democratic arguments. Rather, it is concerned about strengthening democratic deliberation. Arguably, democratic processes which ignore scientific information are in danger of creating injustice, simply because there is a greater probability that decisions based on scientific knowledge are likely to be robust to future natural challenges. The book attempts to resolve the conceptual and practical separation of science from democracy. The political science needed to engineer a new system of justice in democracy is certainly an important area for consideration.

      I welcome the analysis in this book, its perspective and suggestions. It is a much-needed analysis of a subject which attracts too much comment and analysis which is broadly superficial and normative rather than transformative. The author’s approach is thorough and intellectually-grounded. The question of how we bring rationalism and objective reasoning to bear on an increasingly subjectively-focused process of governance within national democracies is profound.

      The author proposes a new way of looking at this problem by implementing something he calls REDemo (Rationalized and Extended Democracy). In grounded and practical terms, this involves creating a system involving a second (or even third) elected chamber to be populated by scientists who would offer a legislative process (and presumably scrutiny of the executive) which creates a strand of legislation built around scientific knowledge and principles. This book is certainly an important contribution to thinking and the author carefully builds the arguments in favor of his proposals – such as whether election to such a chamber is compatible with pursuing a career in science. In this model, scientists would not be members of political parties but would be elected according to an algorithm which ensures different disciplines were represented within the legislative assembly.

      While the case for such a structure is strongly made, I suggest its wise to be careful what one might wish for. There is an assumption deeply embedded in the author’s thesis that scientists are not like other people; that in the right circumstances they will behave differently and the party factions which exist in normal politics would not re-appear in a different form within the scientific assembly – for example, ‘group think’ and tribalism develop quickly within supposed independent scientific assemblies even to the extent that individuals start to follow social rather than purely objective reasoning in their deliberations. Kuhn’s perception of how science work was largely built around this kind of social construct within science. I can see this happening in any scientific assembly just because it is formed of people. In other words, what is to stop the scientific legislative chamber becoming just as political as the party political chamber?

      The great paradox of what is being proposed is that, by being put up for election, scientists would themselves be accountable to people who have little understanding of the issues at hand. Choices about whom to elect then boil down to subjective preference for different personalities and we, unfortunately, converge back on the same old Schumpeterian problem. It may be possible to counter this through informed design of the electoral process and, as the author suggests, have a supervised process of nomination, much as one might say happens for expert members of the upper chambers of some bicameral systems.

      However, at the center of this is really the unrealistic expectation that scientists are the “honest brokers” who bring rationality and objectivity to bear on arguments which sit mainly in the, presumably ‘dishonest’, domain of subjective public discourse. [ As an aside the “honest broker” terminology is really unfortunate and quite revealing about how some sociologists of science see scientists. The fact that some scientists have latched on to this kind of epithet of themselves also shows that it is due for a strong debunking.] Arguably the main things which keeps science honest is their isolation from the polluting influence of social norms. We know that as soon as scientists are put in to the same circumstances as other people then they behave pretty much as other people do. It takes a highly rules-based system to stop this happening.

      The authors’ thesis and suggested remedy is tremendous food for thought and debate. We need this kind of provocative suggestion. Any weaknesses of his model identified at this stage will make the remedy better in the long run. Science is advancing at such a pace that there is a huge danger of a massive rift within society between those who hold the rising power of scientific capability – doubtless mainly within large international corporates – and those who are being subjugated by this power. We have very inadequate processes for debating about how to regulate this power.

      The author is right that if democracy is not to give way to a science-powered autocracy (which it may already have done in many ways), or even oligarchy, it needs much better processes than are currently in place to incorporate appropriate scientific knowledge in to Madisonian democratic systems. Scientists themselves are poorly adapted to involving themselves in these systems because they have few incentives to participate. Their participation is broadly based on mechanisms which act as gatekeepers to control access to the political and policy echo chambers. This can work to some extent – keeping scientists separate keeps them “honest”, or objective, but it also makes them less relevant and more prone to subjugation because access is contingent on the will of those already inside the echo chambers. Whether creating a new echo chamber for scientists themselves is the right answer is debatable but it is one potential answer.

      Scientists themselves are also the subject of exploitative practices. Their creativity is largely focused on doing good things but when their innovations are soaked up and turned in to products by market mechanisms there is precious little consideration of whether the outcome actually stands up to ethical scrutiny. Scientists are, arguably, as much slaves of a form of destructive capitalism as most other citizens. Scientists therefore need to have more control over the ultimate use of their own inventions and the author’s suggestion is an indication of one way this could be achieved.

      Ian Boyd
      University of St Andrews

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 4 September 2022

      Dr. Deborah Piovan is an agronomist with significant entrepreneurial and managerial experience in the agri-food sector, about which she has published several articles and held lectures, also regarding Italian and European legislation and policies.
      I share her opinion about the positive role that the media, and societal subjects at large, can play in the push for more evidence-based politics – this is an important part of the “extension” of democracy in the REDemo project.
      I would like to point out the following:
      1. It is true that we have examples of experts who pander to certain anti-scientific orientations of public opinion in order to gain visibility, sacrificing the necessary rigor in treating the available evidence. In my text I have dubbed them “fringe” scientists, and I have offered some clues on how to defuse their detrimental influence (see II.20. A big challenge for public experts).
      2. “Making ex ante evaluations on policies compulsory”: I suppose that this means at least two aspects: a. careful assessment of the expenses which are implied in proposed actions and choices (too often, politicians – above all when candidates – make wild promises without considering the financial side of their demagogic outbursts); b. mandatory impact assessment of proposed laws and regulations, in relation to their expected effects (e.g. social, economic, environmental). I concur with all this.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 4 September 2022

      Professor Boyd is a former Chief Scientific Adviser at the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): therefore, he has experienced the shortcomings of the current “Science Speaks to Power” paradigm, finding it hard to advance scientific information to support evidence-based options in the realm of democratic politics – and as a result “being frustrated” (personal communication).
      While I welcome his constructive comments, may I just clarify some points:
      – In my view, the chamber(s) of elected public experts would not only “scrutinize” governments (the executive branch), but would actually appoint a number of ministers; this is a problematic and admittedly underdeveloped issue in my book, because the institutional arrangements would need to vary in different democratic settings, above all in presidential vs. parliamentary democracies.
      – The problem of how to contain the possible Schumpeterian slippery slopes of elected experts, i.e. to avoid “the scientific legislative chamber becoming just as political as the party political chamber” is a major one. I do not believe that “scientists are not like other people”, but I hope that a careful design of the renewed framework (“a highly rules-based system”) may let some positive aspects of the scientific mentality emerge in the process of law-making and governing (the Rationalization of democracy). I invite my acute commentator to imagine how incisive his action could have been if he, instead of being just a (scarcely listened to) adviser, had been a genuine in-power player: I imagine that Professor Boyd would agree that his proposals could have had a much higher chance of influencing laws and regulations – being fully legitimized by voters’ authorization, much more than the aforementioned appointed members of upper chambers. In this sense, the important problem of the political education of citizens – who, let us keep in mind, have every right to be rationally ignorant in Downsian terms – is secondary: voters would be offered more science-based policy options than in the exclusively party-political system democracies have now. In other words, I propose an institutional jump beyond the unhappy condition of scientific advisers as “honest brokers” of evidence at the service of politics – an epithet my commentator is so uneasy with.
      – I concur that we need to avoid “creating a new echo chamber for scientists”: I have offered some suggestions on how to maintain a high level of accountability for public experts who are candidates and are elected, mostly by looking at the necessarily broad setting out of personal programmes and the ongoing process of their implementation as policies.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 21 September 2022

      Drew L. Kershen
      Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law Emeritus
      University of Oklahoma, College of Law
      Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue has written a provocative book about the use of scientific knowledge and expertise in democratic governance. He is deeply concerned that democratic governance (politics) presently either ignores science or distorts science for political ends. I share his concerns and read his book to learn his proposals for addressing these concerns.
      I am impressed with the depth and thoughtfulness of his ideas. He argues persuasively and thoroughly about ways to improve the use of science in democratic decision-making. He made me think carefully about democracy. I think his ideas are worthy of careful attention and serious discussion.
      Yet, I came away from his book unconvinced that democratic governance (politics) would be significantly improved in its use of science in decision-making. Even if his proposals were adopted in part or in whole, I worry that politics would capture the proposals and continue to ignore or to distort science for political ends. I suspect that politics is tougher and more devious than his proposals suggest.
      At the same time, if his proposals were adopted, democratic decision-making might be marginally improved. And marginal improvement is still improvement. In that optimistic attitude, I reiterate that his book deserves careful attention and serious discussion.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 21 September 2022

      I thank Professor Kershen for his positive consideration of my ideas. As an emeritus university teacher and researcher in law in the USA, maybe he is less than optimistic because politics is so polarized and conflictual in his homeland. I dare to be more hopeful, anticipating that a – very difficult – implementation of REDemo in any given country may lead to much more than a “marginal improvement” of democracy. Time will tell…

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 October 2022

      Comments by Dr.ir. Gijs Kleter, 25 September 2022
      Wageningen Food Safety Research, part of Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands
      Summary: I’d suggest to replace “preliminary warning” with a more formal term such as “disclaimer” or “caveat”
      Section I.1.3: Perhaps some attention can be paid to the recent developments regarding “new genomic techniques” applied to crops, in particularly gene editing resulting in small mutations (“targeted mutagenesis”, such as with CRISPR Cas9) and cisgenesis (genetic transformation with genes from the same or crossable plant species). The European Commission has acknowledged that current GMO legislation is not adequate for tackling these new developments and will come up with proposals for legislative amendments in spring 2023. Various countries, such as the USDA’s secure ruling (USA), Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Japan, have already established policies regarding these techniques, in some cases exempting them from pre-market approval procedures based on their similarity with conventional breeding practices. Perhaps also to note that GMO legislation is based on precaution rather than any known risks inherent to the technology of genetic modification (as opposed to, e.g., other environmental and food hazards, such as pathogens, toxic chemicals, allergens, etc.
      Section I.1.4: editorial: replace “EPBM” with “EBPM” (NB the abbreviation is provided here but defined once again in section II.4.2)
      Section II.1 and II.15.2.: I guess one could make a distinction here between nations where any change in political leadership will have its bearings on the staffing of key positions within governmental bodies (such as the chief executive of an agency, for example in the USA, etc.) whereas in other countries, public servants are essentially free from such influences (such as in The Netherlands), where the same chief public servants will hold their position regardless of who will be appointed as their minister.
      Section II.15.2: Perhaps relevant to note here that even “independent institutions” may be subject to political forces. Take for instance the European Food Safety Authority, established as per the General Food Law (Regulation [EU] No. 178/2002) so as to disentangle scientific risk advice from policy and centralize it at community level: As the Europarliament decides on its budget, several parliamentarians (apparently disgruntled over EFSA’s positive statements on GMOs and glyphosate) successfully managed to withhold its annual budget at some instances on the grounds of perceived bad management of conflicting interests amongst its scientific Panel experts (e.g., MEPs block budget approval for three EU agencies, EU Council – EU monitor; European Parliament demands stricter regulation of conflicts of interest at EFSA (gmwatch.org)).

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 October 2022

      As an academic expert in agri-food biotechnology regulation, Dr. Kleter is acutely aware of the frequent detachment of laws and governmental actions from consolidated scientific assessments. I reply point-by-point to his brief but thoughtful comments.
      Summary: I have replaced “preliminary warning” with “preliminary caveat”.
      Section I.1.3: While I share almost completely the commentator’s opinion, I think that his remarks are too specialised to be included in my book, in which I briefly discuss the “GMO” blunder just to give an example of a composite powerful lobby (a bunch of so-called “green” groups – quite a dubious label) which is different from those normally considered by the public and the press, i.e. economic-financial-industrial powerhouses. Just for the record, I point out here that the European Commission (some members of it) and many scientific societies, which would like to amend the EU laws in the field of agronomy and related genomics, should not define the current regulation as “precautionary”, because it is falsely based on a strongly distorted interpretation of the Precautionary Principle (see Tagliabue 2016, The Precautionary principle: Its misunderstandings and misuses in relation to “GMOs”).
      Section I.1.4: I have replaced the wrong acronym.
      Section II.1 and II.15.2.: I will take advantage of the comment, clarifying this point in the book.
      Section II.15.2: The problem with the European Food Safety Authority, whose scientific work is impressive, is just what Kleter has explained: its high-level Panels are composed of the best experts in their fields, but the scope of the EFSA is confined to risk assessment, while risk management (the actual laws and regulations) is completely political: decision-makers and ministers can proceed ignoring the EFSA’s science-based studies and reports – and they happily do so on most occasions. In this sense, the EFSA is just a half-independent agency: other authorities/commissions, in various areas and countries, share the same sad destiny which is the predicament of the Science Speaks to Power paradigm; others are more fortunate, being able to actually regulate their fields, taking advantage of scientific information – more or less unharmed by politicking on the part of parliaments and governments. The aim of REDemo is to design a possible quantum leap as regards the use of science in politics/policies.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 5 December 2022

      Comments posted on behalf of Professor Heather Douglas, Michigan State University, Associate Professor: Philosophy of Science; Values in Science; Science in Society; Responsible Research; Science Policy. dougl239@msu.edu
      First, I share the Author’s frustration with current democratic institutions and appreciate the general novelty of what he is proposing. Electing experts to parallel deliberative legislative bodies may indeed have a salutary impact on our current problems. However, I do see some practical problems with the proposal.
      1). Expertise is usually narrow, and it is only in committees with appropriately crafted sets of experts with different but relevant expertise (rather than individual experts) that we get really good science advice. I am not very optimistic about the possibility of individual elected expertise being able to marshal the needed solutions. Individual experts often think that their expertise is the one needed to solve a problem, and they are almost always overly optimistic about their expertise and insufficiently attendant to other relevant expertise.
      2). It takes time to learn how to intervene in our legal, regulatory, and political systems. So it will take time for elected experts to learn how to make effective interventions. But the longer they are functioning in the deliberative legislative body, learning legal and regulatory details, the longer they are disengaged (necessarily) from their home expertise (which will be moving in new directions and learning new things without them). So, there is an inherent tension between wanting to give the experts time enough to learn the legal/regulatory ropes and not too much time so that they lose their expertise.
      3). Expertise can be readily faked. It is already faked regularly with low power stakes- lots of fraud, QRPs, predatory journals with weak peer review, think tanks that set up their own journals to make it seem like legit work, etc. If having some of the markers for expertise becomes a key gateway to power, expect such fakery to increase. How will this pressure be managed? Who will legitimate the markers of expertise? It cannot be vetted solely by existing experts- that would lead to charges of cronyism.
      4) There are also substantive democratic reform proposals that are necessary for good functioning democracies: Ranked voting; Campaign finance restructuring; Citizen advisory bodies for all science policy (standing- stakeholder– or temporary- demographic samples/juries); Independent redistricting commissions (so elected officials do not pick their voters!).
      Framing REDemo as a solution to the current failures is, I think, too broad a framing. We need these basic reforms, and good thinking about the role of expertise is properly functioning (not the US currently) democracies.
      I would recommend thinking about how REDemo would address the first three challenges, and why it would be needed if we managed to get the basic reforms of democratic institutions done.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 5 December 2022

      Author’s reply to Professor Douglas:
      My reply to 1). This is exactly the position I argue for in REDemo: please read the chapter II.18.5. Adopting long-term views, in particular the paragraphs starting from “An interesting criticism seems to undermine…” to the end.
      My reply to 2). I concur, this tension will be at work. Elected experts will need the support of high-level, dedicated parliamentary and governmental bureaucracy. Yet, even today there is a number of university professors who temporarily leave academia to be elected through the traditional party-political path, and they often return to researching and teaching after a few years. I will add a paragraph in my book, underlining this issue.
      My reply to 3). This is another issue to be carefully managed. I give some ideas about that in my chapter “II.18.6. Decreasing privileges and corruption”.
      My reply to 4). I actually support these needed changes inside the imagined new framework. Yet, I maintain that a broad REDemo reform is necessary: unfortunately (I would say), REDemo cannot be implemented piecemeal, step by step: the institution of Scientific Assemblies as (co-)legislative powers and the obligatory involvement of elected scientists in the executives is not a reform that can be introduced incrementally. I admit that, from an operational point of view, this is probably a major problem, as I make clear in the chapter “Conclusion”.

      Comment by Gilberto on 31 December 2022

      That Western democracies, i.e. open societies implementing the principle of representation, universal suffrage expressed through free elections, and the rule of law, do not function in optimal ways is a truism. Some democracies suffer more than others from the seven flaws illustrated in Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue’s (GMT) essay, as well as each in ways that, given the boundary conditions and public ethics at work, can fluctuate over time. The solutions GMT suggests, i.e. rationalization through the support of a chamber composed of scientists/experts, and an extension of the democratic model by providing a direct role for the electorate and social partners through petitions, referendums, etc., are, in theory, appropriate measures. However, some democracies probably do not need the suggested changes because they already function efficiently, so expertise is already used and valued without the need to bring it together in the form of representation in a chamber. Moreover, in some polyarchies, parties are, as a rule listening to changing social expectations. GMT likely thinks that these measures serve, above all, Italian democracy and systems of political government that have historically matured on social and cultural terrain that is not favorable to liberal values and institutions. Italy has been a case study since the years after Second World War. Here is where the phenomenon of ‘amoral familism’ was defined in the 1950s as one of the social traits that most limit a liberal democracy. This condition persists tragically in the country despite the decades that have passed, undermining the quality of civic sense.

      The essay reminded me, at several junctures, of Federalist Paper 51, published in 1788. Before the “angels”, James Madison wrote: ‘ambition must be made to counteract ambition’. The GMT project is very ambitious. But I was also thinking of “angels” because the model advocated by GMT seems to be written for men who believe themselves to be angels or who think they can become angels. Human imperfection is recurrently recalled in the Federalist Papers about the problem of how to build, through the constitution, a republican institutional architecture capable of recruiting social diversity and transforming it into collective and individual welfare and freedom. Paper 51, and the subsequent ones in the series, reasoned in the sense of imagining how to change through the rules of representation and balances of power flaws into even positive qualities, creating institutional relations that, through the competition of interests, spontaneously bring about a better social order for all, which is difficult or impossible for intentions and planning to create.

      GMT’s academic exercise – much more educational, in a positive sense, than many essays written by actual academics, but with some lack of clarity due to the vastness of topics/viewpoints covered, which waters down the taste for novelty – is striking in the quantity and quality of erudition. I have read very few essays on the relationship between democracy and science or knowledge that are as well documented and inclusive. In theory, the author’s thesis makes sense. But, like all models, it contains simplifications that force GMT to produce carping somersaults to counter the positions of those who, starting from the same analyses of the limits of liberal democracies, reach different conclusions. For example, citizens should undergo aptitude tests, or that voting may weigh more than others for some more competent citizens. The theories that already address the problems of inefficiency in democracies discussed by GMT are considered by him to be unworkable in principle or fact. However, his model of democracy is suggestive but also idealistic too. Among other reasons, it is also because humans are still closer to their primate relatives than to imaginary angels, including those who are scientists and experts, as seen plastically during the recent pandemic.

      The theorists of liberal democracy can roughly be divided into two groups. On the one hand, those who defend an ‘epistemic’ conception of it, whereby the government of the many would always be superior to the government of the few in finding correct solutions, in the general interest and without harming individual freedom, to problems. The result can be achieved if democratic institutions make the most of the cognitive diversity distributed among the population in deliberative processes. Conversely, some think that cognitive and moral biases prevail in voters’ choices, which are more likely to lead to making the wrong decisions, for which measures are needed to reduce the impact of epistemic deficits. GMT belongs to the first category, and his proposals aim to enrich the political system’s decision-making architecture. He correctly explains that one has to abandon Condorcet’s theorem and the postulate of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ when trying to imagine empirically how the preconception that the greater the number of participants, the closer it gets to correct judgement would work. The phenomenon of the crowd’s wisdom has been studied extensively and seen to work only when it comes to estimating quantitative values or geographical information.

      Regarding more complex issues, bias tends to prevail, and the decision is more likely to be wrong than if experts had made it. In complex societies, the relevant or appropriate use of knowledge would require processes that are less dispersed and disturbed by innate social inclinations that are dysfunctional in the context of the industrial and post-industrial world. However, it is difficult to believe that the grafting of a chamber of expertise could ever take root at this stage of the development of democratic systems but especially in the face of a political culture almost immune to scientific rationality.

      Historically, technical figures have been present on decision-making levels in human communities. Still, technocracies, i.e. communities where decisions in the collective interest are taken based on technical expertise, do not express the same dynamism as liberal democracies, where free and independent scientific research improves knowledge, encourages the improvement/renewal of technical expertise, and allows or expands the spaces of self-determination of people as a better condition for civil coexistence. Science and the scientific community have been contributing to the solution of political problems for centuries – and without the scientific and technological revolutions that have taken place since the 17th century, the level of political and economic freedom would have remained as in autocracies – and in recent decades some western governments have created offices to support decision-making on issues that call for scientific knowledge. Some countries have also set up agencies to apply nudging to social choices, which is meant to be but is not a scientific way of reconciling paternalism and libertarianism. GMT is right. These are not institutionally structural measures, as would be an assembly of scientists/experts in support of the legislature and assumes that citizens should be more listened to and less manipulated.

      Would the REDemo model be able to cure democracies in crisis? We will never know. Where democracies are still more solid and transparent, there is no need to rationalize and extend democracy. At the same time, where technical knowledge and various innovative ideas have more difficulty circulating, it must be something other than an idea that comes to the mind of political elites. GMT underestimates the weight of functional illiteracy, and in countries where this prevails, citizens may send poor scientists/experts and even several pseudoscientists to parliament.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 9 January 2023

      As an epistemologist and historian of medicine, Professor Gilberto Corbellini (GC) has written extensively on the relationship between science and society, in particular on science and democracy in Italy. The only reason why I do not quote his important writings in my text is that his books and articles on the subject – from which I have learnt much – appeared in Italian.
      I reply to his dense and interesting comment, distinguishing a number of points.
      1. GC maintains that “some democracies probably do not need the suggested changes because they already function efficiently” and that “in some polyarchies, parties are, as a rule listening to changing social expectations“. It would be interesting to discuss which nations in which areas of the world (Scandinavia? Oceania?) are so lucky. In any case, I believe that the institutionalized insertion of public scientists into the legislative and executive branches could improve a (supposedly) good functioning of governments. But, more importantly, one major tenet of the REDemo hypothesis is that elected scientists would not only be more RESPONSIVE to society (which is not necessarily good), but, because of the broader vision they enjoy thanks to expertise in their fields, could be more RESPONSIBLE in policymaking, possibly anticipating and directing socio-economic advancements – their programmes always being subject to the electorate’s approval; they could be leaders, more than followers, as most populist legislators are.
      And, yes, I started imagining the REDemo reform having in mind Italy’s flawed democracy; yet, immodestly, I think that other countries could benefit immensely from a well-designed exploitation of expertise in public choices.
      2. GC reminds us that human beings are not angels. I concur. That’s why – beyond disseminating in my text a number of caveats regarding overly optimistic enthusiasm about REDemo – in comparing the different incentives for party-political and scientific candidates I wrote that “University experts are not […] angels who always tell the truth and are unceasingly caring of the people’s welfare: but they will not NEED to be elected or to stay in office”. Furthermore, I devoted an entire sub-chapter to calling to keep a moderate, not utopian perspective (see II.4.4. Reasonable, not excessive expectations).
      Instead, I am not convinced by a mention that GC gives to the non-angelical nature of scientists that is allegedly shown by their behaviour “during the recent pandemic”. I suppose that reference is made to episodes of public bickering among experts and to the not infrequent overexposure of epidemiologists and virologists in the media. Far from wanting to justify some prima donna postures, I believe that a part of the problem is due to the “Stephen Schneider effect”, i.e. the perceived need to raise the tone of communication on the part of experts, in order to be heard by elected officials who have too often been less than ready to consider evidence and science-based proposals – regarding Covid, climate disruption and countless other issues. As I wrote (see the chapter II.4.5. Loosening the “double ethical bind”), if elected scientists were actual decision-makers – although constantly in the public eye and balanced by party-political counterparts – they would feel much less compelled to scream, looking for attention from politicians who are frequently biased. Thus, I may accept that GC dubs REDemo as “idealistic”, if this refers to the admittedly difficult path it would go along and the major difficulties it would meet looking for its possible institutional implementation; instead, if scientists were (co-)legislators in certain countries where the pandemic hit hardest, it would not be “idealistic” to imagine that – maybe among heated discussions and inevitable mistakes – the health emergency would have been better managed, diminishing the death toll and sparing a great deal of human suffering.
      3. GC correctly distinguishes theorists of liberal democracy between “those who defend an ‘epistemic’ conception of it, whereby the government of the many would always be superior to the government of the few” and those who “think that cognitive and moral biases prevail in voters’ choices”, hence the need “to reduce the impact of epistemic deficits”. I have extensively criticized both positions (see II.6. “Epist-” misunderstandings and inadequacies), and thus I refuse to be enrolled in the first cohort. Yet, I understand that my position must be better explained, because: A. on one side, I am acutely aware of the knot of mental biases and cultural prejudices that too often jeopardize human reasoning (a point in favor of those who are deeply skeptical of democracy); and, B. on the other, I reaffirm uncompromising support for the people to directly influence political decisions – even calling for an improvement in democratic instruments for that purpose. To solve the apparent contradiction, my answer is the following: A. I believe that the “Rationalization” of democracy can help laypeople make better policy choices in the polls because (hopefully) they will be offered better options by scientists who put themselves forward; in other words, my theory relies on a substantial improvement of the supply side. Most voters, despite their deep-rooted defects outlined by political psychologists, can understand when programmes are designed to promote (some versions of) the common good – their epistemic deficits being cushioned through the offer of policy-related expertise; B. On the demand side, the “Extension” of the institutional framework I support is simply a reaffirmation of a basic democratic tenet, i.e. an active role of civil society in contributing to political dynamics.
      Somewhat contrary to my own fairly positive expectations, I sadly agree with GC when he affirms an empirical observation: “it is difficult to believe that the grafting of a chamber of expertise could ever take root at this stage of the development of democratic systems but especially in the face of a political culture almost immune to scientific rationality.” I realize that I must insist on that point: although there is no space here to discuss the many facets of the public understanding of science, I believe that societies can only gain from an improvement in people’s scientific/rational literacy: to be clear, this can be seen as a defence of the information/knowledge deficit model – a concept which is problematic but has a sound theoretical and empirical basis.
      I will insert a clarification about this point in my text.
      4. In connection to the former point, according to GC, “GMT underestimates the weight of functional illiteracy, and in countries where this prevails, citizens may send poor scientists/experts and even several pseudoscientists to parliament.” The risk is serious, because poor/pseudo-scientists are always more vociferous than their reliable colleagues, and they are likely to stand as candidates proportionally more often than the latter to the scientific assemblies envisioned by REDemo. I have tried to imagine how to deal with this important point (see the relevant paragraph in chapter II.20. A big challenge for public experts), presuming that, if many academics stand for office in the scientific legislative bodies, the small percentage of pseudo-scientists, who are unfortunately present in university and research institutions, will be skimmed off, or in any case be a minority among their elected peers. To test this hypothesis, the first step after the conclusion of the open peer review and the hoped-for publication of my book will be an initial empirical probe of its possible implementation: as indicated in the Addendum, a vast survey will be conducted among Italian public scientists whose competences could be used in a REDemo framework, to collect some data from those who may be willing to enter the imagined legislative/executive scientific bodies. The presumption is that there may be a strong positive response, because the first goal of many experts is to influence politics with the results of their works (https://theconversation.com/scientists-dont-share-their-findings-for-fun-they-want-their-research-to-make-a-difference-146267), if the survey among north American scientists can be considered paradigmatic.
      Also regarding this important issue, I will insert a clarification in my text.
      In conclusion, I am flattered by the positive opinion and the words of appreciation that Professor Corbellini uses to judge my book in general. Disclosure: although he bears responsibility for having encouraged me to develop the REDemo idea when it was just an initial figment of my imagination, I will not blame him for the hypercritical comments that I expect from many readers, let alone for the probable poor results of any attempt to implement the outlined reform. Thanks anyway…

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 24 January 2023

      Comment posted by the author on behalf of Professor Antonino Palumbo, Political Theory and Governance, University of Palermo
      1. Starting point: the rationalisation of the legitimacy crisis besetting liberal democracies at present. Framing the problem: liberal democracies are affected by a competence deficit; it is such a competence deficit that causes the legitimacy crisis observed the world over; this competence deficit is not due to the liberal component of the compound term, but to the democratic component. The steps that lead to this conclusion are:
      a) various rational choice accounts of the democratic game are used to explain the pitfalls of actually existing representative governments. The main literature used mainly refers to the American model of representative government, but it is generalised to any other form of representative government despite their differences. Furthermore, the democratic game is not decomposed in its constitutive subgames, nor is it investigated the way in which those subgames interact among themselves.
      b) the pitfalls of representative government are sometime attributed to the behavioural traits of the political players, and sometime to the institutional setting (rules) wherein the game is played. No clear causal relation is established between these two sources of failure, nor is it explained the way in which the two interact. Also, the same type of strategic behaviour is equally attributed to individuals actors (politicians) and collective entities (political parties) without paying attention to possible inconsistencies between the two.
      c) although scientists have always operated as policy advisers and often as legislators as well, they are given no agency, and turned into the puppets of politicians. This misrepresents the relationship established by political actors, state institutions and epistemic communities in the xxth century, especially in the US. The critical literature on the cold war and big science, the military-industrial-academic complex, and the development of the Keynesian and neoliberal consensus politics supply ample evidence that academic and scientists are far from being mere puppets.
      1.1. Assessment of the proposed rationalisation: I’m not convinced that the framing of the problem is right. I don’t think the connection between competence deficit and legitimacy crisis is at all proved. I couldn’t find in the work a convincing account of the alleged causal link between the two elements. Alternative narratives based on the unresponsiveness of representative government to the demos are, in my opinion, far more convincing. These narratives do not depend on the idea of a competence deficit of legislators, but on the structural disconnection between representatives and represented produced by the type of electoral democracy engendered since the end of second world war. Against the claim of the author, this minimalist understanding of democracy as electoral competition between elites was due to liberal demophobias and constitutional attempts to impose external side-constraints on democratic practices. That is, the liberal values and principles the author wants to preserve. I come back on this later.
      2. solution to the legitimacy crisis: elective wise-guys legislative chambers made up of professional experts. In bicameral systems like the Italian, this would entail reserving the senate to candidates working in public scientific institutions like universities and CNR. Those elected will serve two-terms only, and have the same legislative power granted to the senate at present. This solution would represent, according to the author, a deepening of democracy. The reasoning process leading to this solution develops as follows:
      a) liberal constitutional essentials (absolute and exclusive individual rights, functional separation of powers, and the rule of law) represent exogenous elements that need to be preserved. For the author, it is impossible to conceive of a non liberal form of democracy; any democracy lacking one of those elements will be ipso facto illiberal. This also means to a very large extent preserving the minimal conception of democracy (MCD) as an electoral method for selecting the ruling elite. Electoral mechanisms are thus to be used to select and empower experts, replacing the current system of meritocratic appointments. Direct participation of the people is possible, but it has to be reactive and unobtrusive: as a tie-breaker whenever a stalemate between the two legislative chambers is reached; as a right to petition parliament by submitting popular bills.
      b) liberal constitutional principles and values supply the standards and criteria of validity political actors have to take into consideration when engaged in decision making and policy making. The validity of laws and policies is instrumental in nature, and concerned with gauging how well they engender the values and principles established at the constitutional level. Democratic politics is to be seen as an imperfect procedure dealing with regulative, rather than constitutive, issues. The constitution is conceived as an original event, rather than a process, and represents the unquestionable source of legitimacy. Constitutional essentials are grounded on procedure-independent processes of discovery unearthing what are the fundamental values and principles democratic institutions have to abide by. Moreover, unlike politicians who are biased and untrustworthy, both the discovery process and the subsequent interpretation of constitutional essentials ought to be reserved to professional experts – those who have the right competence to find out the best means to reach given ends.
      c) At the postconstitutional level, professional experts need to be empowered by making them elective figures. Their direct general election is supposed to replace the system of meritocratic appointment-cum-delegation of policy-making power used at present. This form of empowerment is supposed to counter the tendency to by-pass expert advise by politicians whenever it does not not fit with their political orientation, or run against the lobbying pressures of organised interests. A two term limit is imposed to avoid expertise capture by organised interests. As for the election of politicians, the one of the wise-guys is supposed to combine a formal ex-ante form of authorisation with substantive ex-post type of accountability, even if the imposition of a two term limit reduces the deterrent effect of the latter. The election of professional experts to the wise-guys chamber of the legislative means, finally, that they can be called to assume ministerial responsibility without using the doubtful tactics used recently by the Italian presidents of the Republic to appoint Mario Monti and Mario Draghi.
      2.1. Assessment of the proposed solution: it rests on many problematic claims, hidden assumptions, and unanswered questions. Starting from the latter, I could not find a clear justification of the liberal constitutional essentials (absolute and exclusive individual rights, functional separation of powers, and the rule of law) the author wants to defend. How are they arrive at, by whom and in what way? None of them seems to me above critique. In fact, different liberal schools advance conflicting claims in relation to all of them. This means that they are not self-explanatory either, and that their substantive content requires authoritative interpretation. American constitutionalism is a case in point. By and large, conservatives propose an originalist approach concerned with the real intentions of the framers, while progressives wish to update old ideas and make the constitution more consequential. Such a conflict cannot be resolved by the solution proposed. Moreover, conflicts between (i) legitimate rights holders, (ii) independent state powers, and (iii) opposite conceptions (formal and substantive) of the rule of law are similarly difficult to be resolved in this way. At bottom, all of them rest on political disagreements that defy technical reasoning. They are not only value-laden, but are based on ideals of the self and society people want to engender – ideals that cannot be dismissed on feasibility ground. In short, liberal constitutional essentials cannot be taken for granted without begging the question. If the standards and criteria of validity embodied by our constitutions are the object of reasonable critique and require qualified interpretation, it is then very controversial to see how the proposed imperfect procedural approach can work at the postconstitutional level.
      The author concedes that there are always multiple feasible answers to policy questions, and that correctness theories are not suitable to dealing with political problems. This raise the question concerning the rationale of a wise-guys branch of the legislative. If professional expertise cannot supply right answers, what is the role of the latter? The political branch of the legislative is ostensibly supposed to represent the needs, interests and aspirations of their constituencies. Who or what is the wise-guys body supposed to represent? Political decisions and policy making entail two things: expressing evaluative judgments, rather than facts-based assessments, and dealing with the trade-offs entailed by policy-making. To carry out those activities properly professional expertise is not needed. In fact, professional experts represent one constituency among many others with its specific needs, preferences and desires. Attributing to this constituency legislative and executive powers would therefore reinforce the current biases of electoral democratic systems. In short, academics scientists and professional experts belong to the same professional managerial class that is dominating legislative and executive bodies the world over, and cannot, as a result, offset the biases generated by electoral dynamics.
      Such a structural inability to empathise and figure out what other constituencies would choose if they were asked directly cannot be bridged by any of the virtues the author attributes to scientists and professional experts: benevolence, selflessness, foresight, enlarged time-horizon. Besides, what is the evidence that lead the author to attribute those virtues to professional experts? To my knowledge there is no study that show the existence of a distinctive set of behavioural traits among academics vis-a-vis that of politicians. There is instead ample evidence that show remarkable similarities between the institutional settings in which academics and politicians operate. My personal experience and research in academic governance suggest that, once all differences are taken into account, academia is perhaps more dysfunctional than the political realm. This is perhaps the reason why the author wants to restrict the selection process to those working in public institutions. Note however that the term public is in this context quite ambiguous. It can mean either of two things: public as opposed to private enterprises, or as opposed to for-profit organisations. In both cases, the identification of the institutional pool from which to select the candidates for the wise-guys chamber is problematic. If we accept the notion of public as opposed to private, we should exclude a large spectrum of academic and research institutions cultivating professional expertise. The US is a clear instance. No less problematic is to use the notion of public as synonym for non-for-profit to exclude all for-profit organisations. Thanks to thirty years of relentless neoliberal reforms, all non-for-profit organisations (public institutions included) operate now de facto according to a for-profit logic, universities above all. Likewise can be said about the two-term limit: if it is an effective deterrent against regulatory capture, it can work without introducing a wise-guys elective chamber; if it has detrimental effect on accountability, as imputed by liberal critics, it would not improve upon the current system of appointments.
      3. Further remarks on elections, meritocracy and accountability. Representative government and academic governance mirror each other far too much to use the second as a counterbalance to the first. Moreover, both employ the same blend of electoral and appointment practices to select their personnel, and show remarkably similar defect in engendering meritocracy and accountability.
      a) academic governance has been the object of far too many inquiries and studies showing that it has similar defects to those attributed to representative government. Traditional forms of collegiality which attributed full decision-making power to the dons were blamed for failing to engender meritocratic forms of selection, and for taking into due accounts the need of all other stakeholders, students above all. Under the pressure exercised by the 1960s protest movements seeking to democratise them, restricted forms of electoral democracy were eventually introduced into public universities. They notably failed to redress any of the previous problems, or to improve the accountability of the electoral elites who acquired regulatory power as result. In fact, the conflict of the faculties ended up producing the kind of factionalism that is pervasive in the political realm. It is because of those dysfunctionalities that neoliberals have successfully managed to reform the system by using managerial techniques imported from the corporate world. As a result, we have now a new class of university managers made up of second rate, bilingual academics and professional administrators running the show who are not accountable to anybody. If academics and scientists have repeated failed to counter neoliberal market rhetoric and reforms, thus setting their own affairs in order, how can they be trusted to redress the defects of actually existing representative institutions?
      b) the rise and fall of the research university shows the entanglement between political and scientific activities, as well as the propensity of academic and scientists to collude with their mecenati. Big science, big government and big corporations represent a power block that is using similar logics of action, and supporting each other at critical junctures. They all vie to appropriate the product of human endeavour in its various form, and then claim an exclusive intellectual and economic entitlement to it. When their activities end up producing large scale social bads, they use the resources at their disposal to shift the blame on others or engage in denial & delays tactics aimed to avoid accountability. Within the scientific realm, those who refuse to conform to the logic of big science are pushed to the margins of academia, and cut off from the main funding streams. Big science is dominated by epistemic communities which are permanently engaged in redefining what counts as science or scientific evidence in ways that suit their own ends. They are also committed to making scientific activities policy-relevant by blunting their critical edge. Thus, public debates systematically end up producing stark binary choices, while appeals to complexity are employed to shift responsibility away when those choices yield widespread negative side-effects. All social and environmental problems we face today have been generated by big science’s commitment and personal contribution to endless economic growth. Empowering professional experts through the electoral mechanism would likely increase the bargaining power of big science and of the epistemic communities dominating it. It is a dangerous illusion to think that this bargaining power will be used to redress current imbalances, and engender the common good.
      c) The link between elections and democracy is highly contentious, if not self-serving. It is at the core of the MCD, and its aims were originally related to cold war ideological imperatives. The MCD was conceived during the behavioural revolution in American political science by Schumpeter and Dahl using questionable behavioural assumptions, and stark binary distinctions. According to its proponents, the politics of the ballot-box had the power to solve both the problem of formal ex-ante authorisation, and substantive ex-post accountability without involving the demos in decision and policy making. This justification was strongly supported by the so-called empirical theorists of democracy, who also affirmed that the MCD was the most effective form of government. Historical evidence showed them wrong. For the outcome of welfare policies was widespread discontent among the very social strata that were supposed to be the main beneficiaries of endless growth and modernisation policies – working and middle classes. Following the demise of the Keynesian consensus politics in the 1970s, this same empirical approach to democracy was used in the service of the neoliberal cause. Another bunch of stark binary distinctions based on the same questionable behavioural assumptions was employed in support of global developmental strategies. Since the 2008 global financial crisis, the neoliberal consensus politics has been confronting a legitimacy crisis even more severe than the one experienced in the 1970s. In its wake, a new generation of empirical theorists of democracy has emerged suggesting an institutional makeover aimed to preserve the essence of the MCD. The author of the REDemo project wants to join this group evidently, and is keen to repropose the electoral method to fill an alleged competence deficit. By now it should be evident to all and sundry that electoral solutions of this type have failed to deliver in the past and are not going to do so in the future. At best, electoral empowerment would supply a temporary respite to the epistemic communities dominating big science, who on their part are experiencing their own legitimation crisis.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 24 January 2023

      Reply to Professor Palumbo:
      The commentator’s remarks are dense and thoughtful, and partly acceptable; yet, I must reaffirm my positions on some points, while on a few issues his criticism gives me a welcome opportunity to clarify my proposals and enrich my book accordingly.
      About 1. a) and b) It is true that “liberal democracies are affected by a competence deficit”: but I do not believe that it is the primary cause of their “legitimacy crisis”: in my list of what I dubbed “the seven flaws of democracy” (chapter I.1.), the detrimental lack of competence which affects too many politicians and consequent policies is at the fourth place; this placement may be questionable, but I confirm my opinion that the frequently Schumpeterian (i.e. self-serving, opportunistic, demagogic, short-sighted) mindset of politicians is the first defect.
      I acknowledge that, in my text, “the democratic game is not decomposed in its constitutive subgames”; similarly, “behavioural traits of the political players” and their institutional setting, as well as the relationship between single elected officials and their parties, are not examined in-depth. But an extensive discussion of such important issues would imply a long argument, ranging from political psychology to several other specialistic areas. This is beyond the scope of my book.
      About 1. c) I do not subscribe to the label of scientific advisers as “puppets” of politicians. It is true that sometimes elected officials exercise a high level of manipulation in belittling uneasy evidence, but this is not mainly a matter of personal malignancy, but it is due to the inherent shortcomings of the Science Speaks to Power paradigm.
      When the commentator refers to the “military-industrial-academic complex” that has allegedly dominated some major aspects of US politics in the XX century and beyond, I think that the addition of “academic” is scarcely warranted, although Henry Giroux (The University in Chains, 2007) maintains that the famous expression used by President Eisenhower in 1961, “military-industrial complex” contained also “academic” in its first draft: it is correct to underline that some outstanding public professors were part of “Big Science” working for the defense sector, but large parts of the public research and university world, above all the social sciences sphere, is clearly not affected by supposedly suffocating ties with private industries. Therefore, far from thinking that academics are all angels, I confirm my idea that that a number of public scientists who offer their programmes to voters’ choice in various sectors (applied political science, law, economics, agronomy, biotechnologies, industry/infrastructure, ecology, etc.) may be willing to counteract the exorbitant influence of vested powers (see II.18.3. Subduing the influence of special interests and the power of money in politics). This replies also to the comment by Palumbo in his point 3. b)
      I will insert in my text a clarification about this important point.
      Regarding some scientists working as legislators in the current system, I have tried to clarify that they must adapt to the inherent handicaps of democracies and be subject to the same dubious behaviour which necessarily affects politicians (the “seven flaws”): a dynamic that REDemo may possibly correct, at least in part, providing an institutionally secure path for elected public experts to law-making and governing.
      About 1.1. Having clarified that the lack of competence in politics is not the primary cause of democracy’s legitimacy deficit, I fully concur with my commentator when he laments the “unresponsiveness of representative government to the demos”: in REDemo, the “Extension” of democracy aims at enlarging the influence of citizens and societal organizations, both on the initial outline and in the final outcome of policies (see Figure 4).
      About 2. a) Establishing a mechanism for the people to elect scientific bodies would not mean “replacing the current system of meritocratic appointments”. We are talking of two different spheres: when on loan (so to say) to policymaking and governing, public experts who candidate would be subject to voters’ choices, while in academia the meritocratic criterion would (should) still prevail. (2. c)
      About 2. b) A current democratic constitution in a given country is certainly an “original event”, but this does not exclude an ongoing “process”. If and when a constitution is democratically amended, lawmakers (both expert bodies and political parties) will have to conform their programmes and governmental actions to the renewed framework. I may have given an impression of excessive rigidity, when I underline that the starting point for a pragmatic reform is necessarily the present state of affairs. I will clarify this point in my text.
      “[T]he discovery process and the subsequent interpretation of constitutional essentials ought to be reserved to professional experts”. No: the kind of perfect bicameralism imagined for REDemo means that party politicians and elected scientists co-participate in law-making and governing.
      About 2.1. Professor Palumbo rightly points out that liberal principles which are at the base of the constitutions (the “constitutional essentials”) are not and cannot be unequivocally defined and automatically translated into complex, multi-faceted and ongoing policies and governmental actions. In other words, the ongoing applications of basic tenets like the balance of powers and the rule of law “rest on political disagreements that defy technical reasoning”. I agree. But the aim of my book is not to outline a normative framework for the definition and application of those principles, rather to design an institutional reform in which elected public experts will be able to give their effective contribution for the translation of constitutionalized goals into reality. Under REDemo, the “political disagreements” will still be resolved by voters’ choices, expressing or looking for the implementation of “ideals of the self and society people want to engender”; but, at least as Scientific Assemblies are concerned, deliberations will be better informed by the indispensable “technical reasoning” – a quality that is desperately lacking in the frequent Schumpeterian politicking of parties and factions.
      I must add that, while constitutional essentials are open to discussion in theory and practice, the nub of their meaning is applicable to the real world: when a government passes laws which hamper free press or prohibits manifestations; or when the independence of magistrates is jeopardized by clearly illiberal provisions, e.g. the subordination of their appointments or careers to ministerial approval, any objective observer can see that such actions and trends are undemocratic in essence – beyond all theoretical subtleties that political scientists and philosophers are so glad to entertain themselves with. No “begging of the question” here about what democracy is and must be.
      Passing on, I strongly reject the idea that policymaking means “expressing evaluative judgments, rather than facts-based assessments, and dealing with the trade-offs entailed by policy-making. To carry out those activities properly professional expertise is not needed.” I believe that theorizing an opposition between facts and values blurs rational analyses and consequently impedes objective criticism of political actions. When facts are obliterated, post-truths and outlandish opinions, unhinged from reality, are advanced as legitimate and experts are ignored or manipulated. Thus, that expertise is “not needed” by decision-makers is a sad reality, because politicians too often dispense of it: the main aim of REDemo is just to create lawmaking bodies in which facts are seen as a preliminary basis for legitimately different value-laden options (and choices among them will be taken by voters), counteracting the frequent and detrimental flight from expertise by political players.
      In this sense, affirming that “professional experts represent one constituency among many others” is confusing: we must distinguish science for policy (the Rationalization of democratic law- and policymaking) from policy for science (the political direction and management of universities and research centers: general designs regarding a country’s academia, allocation of funds, etc.). Only in this second sense the academic and research world is a “constituency”: other political and societal actors should supervise in order to avoid elected scientists assigning too much power to the part of the community they come from. In the first sense, the constituency of public scientists who stand as candidates is the whole electorate: I have made clear in my proposal that scientists are to be elected from a national list (or a region-wide list in case of geographically restricted elections), hoping to avoid some defects of current democratic voting systems such as gerrymandering or pork-barrelling.
      Furthermore, it is wrong to affirm that “academics scientists and professional experts belong to the same professional managerial class that is dominating legislative and executive bodies the world over”. Please, no: this judgement echoes an unwarranted Habermasian position that I have tried to debunk (see II.9. Scientification of politics: a shaky concept), explaining that elected officials are the final and supreme decision-makers (except in rare cases, e.g. independent agencies) and therefore science-based proposals too often hit the rubber wall of disinterested politicians, or must find a difficult way through narrow mesh filters (see Figure 3) that REDemo aims to enlarge (see Figure 4).
      As for my alleged tendency to “attribute virtues” such as “benevolence, selflessness, foresight, enlarged time-horizon”, we may hope that the evident irony of my commentator is misplaced. While I reaffirm all the caveats I have expressed regarding any angelicated, so to say, image of sciences and scientists (see II.18.2. Reducing political frenzy, balancing powers in a better way), I propose a simple thought experiment, making reference to an issue I have treated in my book (see II.17.3. Climate crisis). Counterfactuals are always tricky, but, if scientists had been elected as co-lawmakers in Scientific Assemblies decades ago in several countries, we may have hoped in far-reaching policies aimed at avoiding the climate disruption that ensued: frustrated experts in that delicate field have been preaching to the choir, uselessly imploring the governments’ attention. If they were elected now, thank to voters rewarding incisive programmes with larger time-horizons, couldn’t we be a little more hopeful in policies that go beyond the blah-blah? Experts in different fields, who now invest (often: waste) so much time in writing Summaries for Decision-makers at the end of their thick reports (see the Coda to my book), if elected and able to actually make decisions in their field, may have the extremely selfish experience of seeing their theoretical efforts translated into effective policies. This is REDemo’s bet.
      Thus, we take good note of the commentator’s opinion that “academia is perhaps more dysfunctional than the political realm”: we are afraid that the modest suggestions we have advanced regarding this delicate subject (see II.18.6. Decreasing privileges and corruption) can be seen as blunt recommendations or wishful-thinking exercises. But, if any hope of reform is vain, the alternative for democracies is business as usual.
      As for the notion of “public” universities and research centers, from which the pool of candidates for REDemo bodies are to be selected, I definitely agree that this notion must be better defined: it should probably include all the academic enterprises which receive funding from any sort of public coffers and/or issue degrees recognized by the State.
      About 3. a) Here the comment is potentially devastating: if Professor Palumbo’s grim account of the dynamics which reign in the life of academia, allegedly as defective as democratic politics “in engendering meritocracy and accountability”, is expected to be applicable to the functioning of the scientific bodies imagined for REDemo, there is no hope to reform democratic institutions the way I have carefully tried to devise.
      Yet, following his own description, two important points may distinguish the disappointing methods of academic governance and the depicted Scientific law-making Assemblies: A. The participation of stakeholders – students in particular – in the election of the university managers is “restricted”. Instead, with REDemo the universal suffrage is a non-negotiable cornerstone: with this, both extended decision-making power for the people at large and broad elite accountability should be secured; B. Although the image of ”neoliberal managers” who dominate in academia is problematic (but there is no space here to discuss this significant issue), the programmes offered to the choice of voters by public experts who candidate would most certainly not be limited to a supposedly pervasive ideological orientation: in other words, it is reasonable to foresee that scientific candidates will offer a wide range of options to the electorate, in terms of both subjects for desired policies and nuances to realize them – that will be, to use the traditional labels, inclining more to left-wing or to right-wing visions of society.
      About 3. c) This final part of the comment is perplexing. We area told that “The link between elections and democracy is highly contentious”, being elections the core of representative government, seen as the main basis of the “minimal conception of democracy (MCD)”, mostly advanced by Schumpeter and Dahl; for Palumbo, this “empirical approach to democracy was used in the service of the neoliberal cause” from the 80s, and later exploited as a bulwark of “neoliberal consensus politics”, at least until the 2008 financial crisis exploded. (Recall also what Palumbo wrote in his 1.1. point, that “minimalist understanding of democracy as electoral competition between elites was due to liberal demophobias“.)
      But I think that such brief analysis, which has its merit, is obfuscated by a terminological/semantic misunderstanding, as it conflates “liberal” as it is commonly intended in political theory and “liberal” (often “neo-liberal”) as a concept pertaining to the economic-financial (and certainly political) domain. In its first instance, the term refers to the constitutional essentials (freedom of association, expression, press; fair electoral laws and practices; balance of powers; rule of law against executive/governmental break of limits) and is mostly descriptive, not prescriptive; we may say that free elections are a sine qua non for a democratic regime; meanwhile, it is correct to add that elections are a necessary but not sufficient condition (think of dictators who initially came to power through electoral consent, like Hitler or Chavez). One does not need to be a democrat to accept this theoretic framing; likewise, we can discuss the essence and dynamics of various forms of authoritarianism without embracing or supporting its acceptation – or rejection. Instead, the second meaning of “liberal” in the political-economic sense may have an added strong normative slant, with a definite ideological penchant – whether we are talking of economic or social liberalism or other/mixed modulations. In Norberto Bobbio’s words: “It is very easy to reject liberalism if it is identified with a theory or practice of freedom understood as power of the bourgeoisie, but it is much more difficult to reject it when it is considered as the theory and practice of limiting the State’s power”. (Politica e cultura, 1955, p. 278, quoted and translated by Giovanni Sartori)
      In this sense, I reaffirm the idea Palumbo attributes to me: “it is impossible to conceive of a non liberal form of democracy”. In Kantian terms, we may say that “democracy is liberal” is an analytic judgement (explicative but not informative), i.e. the predicate is intrinsic and constitutive to the noun: we can call it a quasi-tautology, while the unfortunate expression “illiberal democracy” is a contradiction in terms. The frequent confusion should be attributed to a limit of the English language (or of its current use): the two terms currently used in Italian, i.e. “liberalismo” and “liberismo” (with the related adjectives “liberale” and “liberista”) allow a clearer, necessary distinction. In fact, Giovanni Sartori (The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Vol. 2, The Classical Issues, Chapter 13. Liberism, Liberalism, and Democracy, 1987) proposed to use the term “liberism”, apparently with scarce success.
      Building on that, we must consider important additions, discussing (and maybe supporting) elements which make democracy more participatory, or deliberative (this last aspect is one in which Palumbo’s work offers an extensive and acute theoretical contribution).
      I will add this clarification in my book.

      I found the overview of constitutions made in the opening very interesting; even if the selection seems a bit cherry picking. iit might be useful to perhaps better explain the rationale for the selection of the cases mentioned. I would not advise you to increase the space devoted to the topic, but rather to better explain why you mention those cases and not others. Here is a good piece on case selection in compconlaw https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=901700

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 1 February 2023

      2nd part of the previous comment, posted on behalf of the author : Giuseppe Martinico, Full Professor of Comparative Public law at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa.
      This reminds me of a topic that is now central to constitutional law scholars, namely that of the alleged non-democratic nature of constitutionalism and the need to make constitutionalisation processes more democratic (both constituent processes, here reference is made to the so-called constitutional crowdsourcing phenomenon http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/constitutional-crowdsourcing-9781786430502.html and http://www.routledge.com/Icelandic-Constitutional-Reform-People-Processes-Politics/Arnason-Dupre/p/book/9780367557089) and the constitutional reform processes. The book with the greatest theoretical scope is that of Roberto Gargarella, http://www.cambridge.org/it/academic/subjects/law/constitutional-and-administrative-law/law-conversation-among-equals.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 5 February 2023

      I reply to both the previous comments.
      It is reasonable that Professor Martinico, as an expert in comparative constitutional law, asks why I chose certain examples of some topics from a number of countries’ constitutions rather than others. The simple answer is that I quoted the cases randomly – no comparative purposes – just to give some references indicating that, in the varied and composite panorama of today’s democratic constitutions, basic ethical-political principles are a strong, inescapable, and theoretically well-founded, common denominator. I tried to underline that it cannot be otherwise, since those aims and goals are necessarily – forgive me the pun – constitutive of constitutions. In my introductory chapter, I aimed merely to hint at that subject. I will insert this short clarification in my book.
      The second comment touches an issue of enormous importance. Yet, as I stated more than once, the pragmatic approach of my book is intended to rest on solid arguments, but it must of necessity exclude broad treatment of theoretical themes.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2023

      It is not just about some “predatory journals” and “bad apples”, but about a whole system of parasite publishers, whose monopoly power depends on the current administrative and bibliometric research assessment. Today’s institutional science can hardly correct itself, because the power to assess itself by doing a public use of reason has been taken from it. There is a huge body of literature about such questions, but to get a general picture you can see some of our AISA statements or the very article of Francesca Di Donato, which is about an EU project of research assessment reform. Indeed, the troubles of the current research assessment methods have become so obvious that the EU commission itself is encouraging their reform.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2023

      Why do you include only social and applied scientists? Why are not there historians, theologians, mathematicians, physicists and other basic researchers? You do list moral philosophers, it is true: but applied ethics is the branch of philosophy most prone to be exploited by commercial and political interests (see for instance the case of AI ethics). Do you share, perhaps, the perspective of the “end of history”, according to which all our remaining problems are just administrative?

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2023

      Did you take into account the hypothesis that the seven flaws of democracy do not depend on democracy itself, but on its post-democratic weakness? Why did Franklin Delano Roosevelt succeed in answering the 1929 crisis, while the economist and politician Yanis Varoufakis and the democratic choice of Greece were crushed in 2015?

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2023

      You might want to deepen your account of the idea of post-normal science, which is founded on a Hippocratic condition: Vīta brevis, ars longa, occāsiō praeceps, experīmentum perīculōsum, iūdicium difficile. When the issues at stakes are uncertain and dangerous, the post-normal scientist supplements the traditional peer review with an extended peer review, rather than imposing his uncertain expertise as it were irrefutable and certain. To see un example of post-normal science at work, see this article, recommended by Silvio Funtowicz himself.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 February 2023

      It is certainly a complicate and intricate subject: this is not the place to outline possible solutions. Yet we could imagine that, in a renewed REDemo framework, elected academics would be able to intervene with appropriate legislative/regulatory/governmental action – something that today’s politicians do not have at the top of their agendas. So, let us imagine that Professor Pievatolo, who has a thorough knowledge of the issue, stands for office and wins a seat in the Italian National Scientific Assembly, presenting a programme with her ideas, having been able to convince the electorate of the need for deep reform: she may possibly gain the consent of her fellow elected experts and negotiate with the party-political branch a resolute, progressive intervention aimed at reforming “the administrative and bibliometric research assessment” and, in parallel or consequently, the scientific publishing sector. If she is not interested in taking forward such an action personally, i.e. she is not willing to be a candidate, she may involve some elected colleagues who care about the problem; while, in the current framework, it looks hard to grab the attention of political decisionmakers. Does such a scenario sound attractive?
      This is just an example of how REDemo, explicitly conceived as a meta-reform, could improve the game of policymaking and “rationalize” democratic dynamics.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 February 2023

      This Hippocratic motto has a sort of cautionary meaning that, in the context of REDemo, is welcome: such an attitude should rein in any excessive enthusiasm regarding the positive results one may imagine if/when the renewed democratic framework is put in place. It is a caveat that I have repeatedly expressed: I devoted an entire sub-chapter recommending to keep a moderate and non-utopian perspective (see II.4.4. Reasonable, not excessive expectations) The reference to the concept of “post-normal science”, i.e. the use of science on issues where “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” (Funtowicz, Silvio. Post-normal Science. Science and Governance under Conditions of Complexity. Politeia, 2001, XVII(62):77-85) is appropriate: it frequently happens that politics must face a tangle of urgent decisions in difficult and unclear conditions. Simply put, REDemo’s view is that policy directions taken or guided by elected scientists/experts (as authorized by the majority of the electorate which approved their programmes), far from being the best by definition, would hopefully be better informed by the available evidence, as partial and tentative as that can be, than those carried on by party-political officials – who, as I have argued quoting several scholars (see I.1.4. Competence? Not necessary – and science often “politicized”), also discussing some real-life cases (see II.17.2. Fishery; II.17.3. Climate crisis), too often ignore or dismiss or distort facts.
      Having said that, I must note that the notion of post-normal science has been linked, by its creators, to the dubious concept of “extended peer-review”, that I have briefly criticized (see II.11.2. Against misconceived “democratism”).

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 February 2023

      I heard this kind of comment from a couple of readers of a previous draft, and I admit that they have a point. To explain my viewpoint, I wrote in chapter II.18.4. Informing policy with competence:
      “The foreseen sections of the scientific assemblies should mostly involve the areas in which public choices can be helped by policy-related competence (law, political science, economics, sociology, land/urban planning, industry/infrastructure design, biotechnology, agriculture, education, health, the environment, culture, university and research, and moral philosophy): these are the kinds of expertise that can have a beneficial ‘return’ if translated into rationally designed, evidence-based, constitutionally-grounded collective decisions. As important and significant as all fields of knowledge can be, we think that government can take the greatest advantage from specialists in fields which have a direct connection with socio-political-economic life – but professors of arts and literature may be excellent legislators and ministers in education policy or cultural heritage.”
      Then I added an important note:
      “Indeed, the development of ‘disinterested’ search for knowledge should be encouraged. The value of cultivating science zones which apparently have no immediate practical use is shown by a recent example of startling advancements in the life sciences: techniques of gene editing (in particular CRISPR), which are extremely promising in various biotechnology sectors (medical, agri-food, bio-remediation of polluted soils, etc.) were developed from studies regarding certain obscure mechanisms of defense that bacteria operate against viruses (see EASAC 2017). The two scientists who discovered the phenomenon and foresaw its applications were awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in 2020.”
      I expressed the opinion that a National Scientific Assembly can replace an existing Senate (although not in certain federal democracies), but I reaffirm my view that it would not be a sort of higher chamber: as far as procedures and legislative mechanisms are concerned, the party-political and the scientific legislative bodies would be at the very same level, in a renewed sort of perfect bicameralism. Regarding the structure and, so to speak, the internal partition of scientific assemblies I am open to suggestions: however, I do not think that any places should be reserved for honorary appointments, like Italy’s unelected “senators for life”.
      Furthermore, I have never been convinced by the alleged/supposed “end of history” concept: the great endeavour of (national and supranational) democracy is not only a matter of administration of the political dynamics; substantially, the REDemo project is aimed at realizing the objectives and goals of democratic constitutions, which are currently in a state of partial and uneven implementation.

      Comment by Giovanni Molteni Tagliabue on 13 February 2023

      In the pars destruens of my book I have argued at length that the flaws I have tried to dissect are structural, inherent to the current framework of democracies, and therefore inescapable in this context. Of course, the depth of the distortions generated by the basic fault as identified by Schumpeter (“the democratic method produces legislation and administration as by-products of the struggle for political office”) and its six negative corollaries is, as I wrote, a matter of empirical enquiry, “depending on people, situations, effective deterrents, and the level of public culture and ethics in a given political/institutional/historical environment” (I.1. The seven flaws of democracies). Thus, while I refrain from discussion on how any democratic framework will be doomed to be defective, due to intrinsic human nature (the Kantian “crooked timber of humanity”), I try to offer, with REDemo, a betterment project.
      In this sense, the reference to the New Deal is interesting. As I wrote (see 1.1. Form and substance in Constitutions), the great reform that FDR was able to realize in the USA was not complete: “In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that the Constitution should be enriched with a (social and economic) Second Bill of Rights: employment, food, clothing and leisure with enough personal/family income to support them; farmers’ rights to a fair income; freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; housing; medical care; social security; education. The constitutional amendment was not drafted, but a number of federal laws (e.g. labour and agricultural acts, the Civil Rights Act, healthcare acts etc.) were inspired by that philosophy (see Sunstein 2004¬): there are some scholarly calls to enact such a major improvement of the American Constitution, incorporating socio-economic rights into the constitutional text (see e.g. Michelman 2015).” We may imagine that a renewed REDemo institutional structure may be in a better position to carry forward that gigantic task – certainly more so than the current party-political entities which are so polarized, fractured and litigious.
      As for the dire straits that Greece had to face during and after the Great Recession, or similar examples of the forced compliance of heavily indebted countries to conditions imposed by international financial institutions, I am afraid I have no particular insights to offer: I made clear that a limit of REDemo is in its (hoped-for) applicability at national and subnational levels. I have some ideas regarding a possible enlargement of the reform proposal beyond state borders, but this will be a subject for possible future developments.

  • J.G. Fichte, Prova dell'illegittimità della ristampa dei libri. Un ragionamento e una parabola (27 comments)

    • Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 8 July 2012

      L’espressione “ristampa” traduce il tedesco Nachdruck. Ho scelto di usare “ristampa” in luogo di “edizione pirata” perché l’illegittimità della pratica era oggetto di controversia: come ho spiegato altrove, una traduzione più specifica implicherebbe una presa di posizione a priori su qualcosa che, in realtà, era ancora in discussione.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 8 July 2012

      Traduzione di J.G. Fichte, Beweis der Unrechtmäßigkeit des Büchernachdrucks. Il testo fu originariamente pubblicato in “Berlinischen Monatsschrift”, Mai 1793; è incluso in J.G. Fichte, Gesamtausgabe der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Werke. vol. 1, 1791-1794, Stuttgart, 1964. L’archivio Marini rende disponibile la sua versione digitalizzata.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 30 July 2012

      L’espressione “tribunale dei diritti perfetti” mi sembra essere una traduzione letterale. Non trovo una espressione sostitutiva, ma forse, in nota, va fatto l’esempio dell’attuale diritto italiano: le questioni inerenti i “diritti soggettivi perfetti” sono affrontate dal giudice ordinario

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 30 July 2012

      “Usufrutto” in lingua italiana, ha un significato giuridico ben preciso di diritto reale minore. anche in questo caso non mi viene un termine in sostituzione. del resto il concetto resta molto chiaro.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 30 July 2012

      Mentre Fichte scriveva il suo saggio il diritto amministrativo nel senso contemporaneo del termine stava muovendo i suoi primi passi, nella Francia della Rivoluzione. Sorvolo sulla discussione storica a proposito della presenza o meno di un diritto amministrativo vero e proprio nelle monarchie assolute, perché credo che l’opposizione di Fichte sia fra diritto naturale, che lo stato deve solo riconoscere, e scelta politico-amministrativa. L’osservazione è, in ogni caso, pertinente e aiuta a chiarire il testo: se c’è un diritto naturale, non c’è discrezionalità politico-amministrativa – e dunque la giurisdizione competente è quella del giudice ordinario. Studierò il modo di recepirla.

      Una nota: una revisione paritaria tradizionale, monodisciplinare, avrebbe dato il mio lavoro in pasto a un paio di filosofi. La stessa limitazione del numero dei revisori avrebbe reso molto improbabile una revisione interdisciplinare. La revisione paritaria aperta, di contro, la facilita: come mostra questo caso, dei lettori con una prospettiva extradisciplinare – per esempio giuridica – possono offrire contribuiti che aiutano a migliorare e chiarire il testo.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 30 July 2012

      semplice errore tipografico: “in casi del genere”, manca la i

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 30 July 2012

      Mi ricredo: il termine usato da Fichte
      “Nießbrauch” si traduce proprio con “usufrutto”

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 30 July 2012

      Sì, avevo controllato anch’io a suo tempo. Fichte usa il vocabolario dei diritti reali in modo davvero pesante.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 30 July 2012

      Probabilmente il passo va rivisto

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 30 July 2012

      Sì, mi era rimasto nella tastiera un “vuole”. L’ho aggiunto e ho reso il resto del passo più scorrevole. Grazie!

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      Reimarus, Johann Albert Heinrich (1729-1814) medico ed erudito tedesco. confronta http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Albert_Heinrich_Reimarus

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      Nell’attuale regime giuridico in Europa il “brevetto di invenzioni industriali” ha durata di 20 anni dal deposito, mentre il diritto d’autore dura fino a 70 anni dalla morte dell’autore

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 31 July 2012

      Sì. Il testo di Reimarus può essere visto qui http://copy.law.cam.ac.uk/cam/tools/request/showRecord.php?id=record_d_1791 o qui.

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      Nel XVI e nel XIII secolo alcuni avventurieri ottenevano dai sovrani europei delle “patenti di corsa” che li autorizzava a depredare le navi nemiche. Particolarmente rilevante fu il numero dei corsari francesi che per molti molti anni ebbero la loro base nell’isola di La Tortue, vicina alle sponde settentrionali di Haiti. Per le loro biografie confronta http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%C3%A9gorie:Corsaire

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      L’imperatore Giuseppe II entrò in conflitto nel 1784 con gli Olandesi principalmente per assicurare il libero sbocco a mare del porto di Anversa, allora nei Paesi Bassi austriaci (ora Belgio) La poca energia usata negli eventi bellici fecero introdurre il nome ironico di “Guerra della marmitta” http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guerra_della_marmitta

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      L’Unione Europea ha introdotto il principio che il diritto d’autore debba essere corrisposto anche per il prestito a domicilio fornito dalle biblioteche pubbliche.
      http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52002DC0502:IT:HTMLL'Italia ha dapprima previsto una esenzione e dopo la decisione delle autorità giudiziarie europee, ha deciso di corrispondere alla SIAE un importo fofettizzato a carico del bilancio statale.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 31 July 2012

      Sì, la teoria del diritto d’autore di Fichte è pesantemente proprietaria, ma la legislazione attuale è riuscita ad andare oltre. Anche per questo il suo testo merita di essere letto.

      Incidentalmente: le sue osservazioni precedenti stanno fornendo parte dell’apparato storico che intendo mettere nell’articolo esplicativo – e un servizio utilissimo all’eventuale lettore “profano” che si trovasse a passare di qui.

      Comment by Cleonice Tenore on 31 July 2012

      Il passo in cui parla di stampatori ”predoni” ma muniti di privilegio può avere una chiave di lettura nel fatto che all’epoca non c’erano convenzioni tra gli stati per il reciproco riconoscimento dei “privilegi”. Un’opera stampata con privilegio in Prussia ristampata da un tipografo della Sassonia, anch’esso munito di privilegio nel suo stato. Il paragone è appunto con il corsaro francese che depreda “legittimamente” il mercante inglese. Nel successivo punto 28 si parla di ristampe in paesi in cui l’importazione dei libri “ufficiali” è proibita.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 1 August 2012

      Esatto. Il privilegio era una concessione del potere politico – tipicamente conferita all’editore – che insisteva sull’azione della stampa, e non un diritto naturale di proprietà. Come tale, i suoi confini erano strettamente territoriali. In un paese linguisticamente unito ma politicamente frammentato come la Germania del Settecento ciò produceva un’industria della ristampa fiorente e formalmente legale.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 1 August 2012

      Sia pure con molti dubbi propongo una variante (a dire il vero orecchiata un po’ in giro):
      “.. Abbiamo bisogno necessariamente di mantenere la proprietà di una cosa la cui appropriazione da parte di altri, è fisicamente incompatibile” Riflette la distinzione romanistica di beni materiali’ e beni ‘immateriali’. I beni materiali (trascurando la condivisione’ sono o di uno o di un altro. Alcuni beni immateriali possono essere usufruiti da tutti.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 1 August 2012

      “lo si può strappare, bruciare…” E’ chiaro il riferimento alla definizione di proprietà come ”ius utendi et abutendi” L’introduzione dell’espressione è attribuita al giurista francese François Hotman
      (per la biografia vedi vedi http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Hotman) che l’ha usata nel testo ‘Commentarius de verbis iuris antiquitatum’ che così si esprime a proposito del diritto di proprietà: “Ius ac potestas re quapiam tum utendi, tum abutendi, quatenus iure civili permittitur”

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 1 August 2012

      Il passo è autobiografico: Fichte aveva comprato il libro ‘Critica della ragion pura’ l’anno prima di questo scritto e ne era rimasto folgorato.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 1 August 2012

      Il testo tedesco recita “Wir behalten nothwendig das Eigenthum eines Dinges, dessen Zueignung durch einen Andern physisch unmöglich ist.”

      La mia traduzione è letterale e a calco. Quella suggerita è costruita su un’interpretazione. Una simile soluzione, quando si traduce un testo filosofico, non è prudente, perché rischia di infliggere al lettore monolingua l’interpretazione del traduttore incorporandola nel testo. E’ vero che i traduttori sono sempre interpreti, ma, quando si tratta di testi filosofici, una traduzione a calco risulta interpretativamente meno “invadente” di una più libera, e dunque va preferita.

      Legittimare la proprietà sulla base di un “bisogno” è ben diverso dal farlo sulla base di una “necessità”.

      La “necessità”, peraltro, può essere intesa nel suo uso modale, filosofico, o anche nel senso più lato di “bisogno”. Viceversa, il “bisogno” non può essere inteso nel senso modale di “necessità”. Quindi, se scegliessi di tradurre il nothwendig di Fichte associandolo al bisogno restringerei arbitrariamente il suo spettro semantico. Questo, però, non avviene se preferisco renderlo con “necessariamente”: al lettore, in questo caso, rimangono disponibili due opzioni interpretative in luogo di una.

      Personalmente sono convinta che in un enunciato assiomatico il nothwendig debba avere un senso modale ma questo – ai fini della traduzione – non è rilevante.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 1 August 2012

      on ho assolutamente la competenza per avventurarmi in temi così difficili, Sono solo un semplice leguleio che ha studiato 50 anni fa e questo forse mi pone fuori strada. Io avevo supposto che il testo in corsivo sia una ‘massima’, un ‘principio giuridico’ Se fosse in latino sarebbe più agevole verificare l’esistenza o meno di una eventuale fonte nel diritto giustinianeo,oppure in quello comune . In tedesco invece la mia rimane una mera ipotesi senza alcun riscontro e chiedo venia se l’ho espressa.

      Comment by Gian Francesco Esposito on 1 August 2012

      Ovviamente l’incipit era un Non ho.
      Chiedo scusa

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 1 August 2012

      Grundsatz (principio fondamentale) può effettivamente essere tradotto sia come “massima”, sia come “assioma”. Ho scelto di renderlo, filosoficamente, come “assioma” perché subito dopo Fichte dice che è una proposizione immediatamente certa la quale non ha bisogno di dimostrazione. Inoltre la proprietà letteraria di F. è innovativa rispetto alla tradizione romanistica, della quale il Kant citato in nota riconosceva invece l’autorità (http://bfp.sp.unipi.it/dida/kant_7/ar01s07.html#kantromano), almeno in quest’ambito.

      Successivamente F. sostiene che lo stile dell’autore, essendo personalissimo, non può essere separato da lui, indicando dunque che non di bisogno, bensì di necessità si tratta.

      E non si scusi. Le sue osservazioni servono a chiarire il testo. Gli autori del ‘700 avevano l’abitudine di non indicare le loro fonti e quindi tutte le ipotesi interpretative meritano di essere verificate.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 2 August 2012

      Ho modificato la traduzione di Grundsatz dal più specifico “assioma” al più generico “principio”. Il lettore capirà da sé, dal resto della frase, che in questo caso il principio è un assioma.

      La traduzione specifica commette il peccato – di cui parlavo più sopra – di incorporare un’interpretazione univoca del traduttore per un termine che, in tedesco risulta avere una maggior latitudine.

  • Daniela Tafani, What's wrong with "AI ethics" narratives (7 comments)

    • Comment by Andrea Saltelli on 22 October 2022

      Ottimo lavoro, ricca bibliografia, argomenti molto condivisibili. Suggerisco aggiungere alle fonti Nick Couldry per il data colonialism eJack Stilgoe quando si parla di self driving car. Magari Louise Amoore perl’ AI ethics. Ma il testo si regge anche bene senza questi.

      Comment by rob on 30 October 2022

      There is a typo in “it is a form of “techmomoral” revolution [63]”: techmomoral -> technomoral

      Comment by Daniela Tafani on 30 October 2022

      Corretto, grazie

      Comment by avetro on 31 October 2022

      About the funding of AI ethics by Big Tech in first line of introduction (I could no t comment directly there for some technical reason), you might take into account that the phenomenon of “corporate capture” is particularly prominent in the whole ML/AI research. For example, it has been reported that 58% of the affiliations of the authors of the most cited papers in two prestigious ML conferences come from big tech,
      to which should be added 28% from other companies, for a total of 86%, which is indicative of who dictates directions (See https://arxiv.org/abs/2106.15590 ) . Another similar fact is reported in”Redesigning AI” (Mit Press, 2021) : “A handful of tech giants, all focused on algorithmic automation—Google (Alphabet), Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Ali Baba, and Baidu—account for the majority of money spent on AI research. (According to a recent McKinsey report, they are responsible for about $20 to $30 billion of the $26 to $39 billion in total private AI investment expenditures worldwide.)”

      Comment by avetro on 31 October 2022

      A comment on the capability to make predictions about human behaviour uniquely using past data. This data and technology driven inductive approach have bee pushed since the 2000’s (see for example the discussion around the article of Chris Anderson about the end of theory
      http://www.wired.com/2008/06/pb-theory/ ): at that time the term “AI” was not in the hype yet, and the term “Big Data” was prevailing. The “magic” of the Google Flu algorithm was among the best cases of that new approach, although quickly contested by scientists as enough data showed its failure. An interesting critic about this naif inductive appraoch is provided in
      “Predicting the future from the past: An old problem from a modern perspective
      Cecconi, F. and Cencini, M. and Falcioni, M. and Vulpiani, A., American Journal of Physics, 80, 1001-1008 (2012),DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.1119/1.4746070

      Comment by rob on 4 November 2022

      At the very end,
      “For a good example of “critically conscious computing”, designed for computer science teaching in secondary education, see [69]”
      the reference I guess should be to:
      [70] (A.J. Ko, A. Beitlers, B. Wortzman, M. Davidson, A. Oleson, M. Kirdani-Ryan, S. Druga, Critically Conscious Computing: Methods for Secondary Education, 2022.)

      Comment by Daniela Tafani on 4 November 2022

      Right. The correct reference number is 70. Thank you

  • Francesco Scotognella, L’affermazione di una teoria nella comunità scientifica: lo scienziato-parresiasta, il collettivo di pensiero e il mutuo appoggio (5 comments)

    • Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 October 2021

      È un contributo davvero molto interessante e stimolante. Ho concluso la presentazione del testo, visibile qui, con delle domande, che sono anche il mio contributo alla revisione paritaria aperta.

      Comment by Vincenzo Aglieri on 28 October 2021

      A margine di commenti più autorevoli che sono già stati formulati circa questo articolo, mi permetto di inserire un breve pensiero, cogliendo l’occasione per ringraziare gli editori che curano questo progetto veramente “open” e il prof. F. Scotognella per gli interessantissimi spunti di riflessione che ha offerto.

      L’articolo “L’affermazione di una teoria nella comunità scientifica: lo scienziato-parresiasta, il collettivo di pensiero e il mutuo appoggio” propone al lettore la figura del parresiasta anarchico in grado di imporsi contro il potere scientifico costituito, mettendo a rischio la propria carriera nel mondo già precario della scienza, pur di propugnare una teoria/modello scientifico che secondo questi può portare a nuovi sviluppi. Come risultato del suo operato, il parresiasta fa emergere il meccanismo di “mutuo appoggio” fra scienziati, che ha come risultato un processo di auto-critica che la scienza si impone mediante i suoi collaborativi celebranti, grazie al quale si giunge a scienza nuova.

      Una delle parole chiave in questo articolo è: anarchia. Sebbene la spinta alla sfida dei collettivi di pensiero che in un dato momento tengono le fila del clero scientifico sia di chiaro stampo anarchico, la chiosa sembra allontanarsi alquanto da una tale prospettiva. La scienza è uno strumento che deve permettere uno studio quanto più accurato possibile della natura; non ci sono alternative. Se il modello/teoria scientifica usato fino ad un certo momento storico non riesce a spiegare nuovi eventi naturali (la cui spiegazione si richiede ad esempio per necessità, come la cura del cancro, ma anche per influenze politiche, militari e culturali o per banale evidenza nelle osservazioni), bisogna a fortiori optare per un nuovo modello che sia in grado di farlo. Se il modello funziona, deve essere accettato – pena un continuo susseguirsi di risultati errati. Pare quindi, piuttosto che anarchia, una dittatura che la natura sordamente esercita sui teorici della scienza e sui loro modelli/teorie, e che a sua volta il parresiasta impone alla comunità scientifica, che lo voglia o meno (tutti i cigni sono bianchi, fino a quando non se ne trova uno nero).

      Secondo questa conclusione mi chiedo se la figura del parresiasta, che è indiscutibilmente difficilissima da sostenere da un punto di vista professionale, personale e sociale, non percorra una strada già tracciata: se infatti la teoria che propone è in grado di gettar luce su un insieme di fenomeni più ampio o di maggior interesse rispetto al precedente, non può che uscirne vittorioso, quasi indipendentemente dal “mutuo appoggio” attivato che al più ne verifica la validità o la fallibilità. Si può quindi parlare ancora di anarchia? Gli scienziati sono mossi dalla volontà di trovare la teoria migliore o sono costretti a farlo?

      Comment by Francesco Scotognella on 29 November 2021

      Ringrazio la professoressa Maria Chiara Pievatolo per il prezioso commento.
      Nonostante il numero di casi riportati in questo lavoro sia esiguo, tali casi evidenziano che il mutuo appoggio tra scienziati non è un residuo del passato. Shechtman scrive il suo fondamentale lavoro sui quasicristalli negli anni ottanta, mentre Baessler scrive il suo lavoro sul trasporto nei semiconduttori organici negli anni novanta. Si può aggiungere l’esempio più recente, datato 2017, della pubblicazione di Gabriele D’Avino e coautori confutante una teoria sulla ferroelettricità proposta dal premio Nobel James Fraser Stoddart [1,2].
      Anche Perelman, con la sua soluzione alla congettura di Poincarè, può essere considerato un parresiasta che, al posto di cercare un consenso nel collettivo di pensiero, carica i suoi tre lavori su arXiv. Altri matematici, studiando pazientemente i suoi lavori, gli daranno ragione.
      Se si facesse un’analisi sul rapporto tra lavori scientifici “parresiastici” e totale delle pubblicazioni scientifiche, si troverebbe un numero molto vicino allo zero. Nondimeno, tali esempi fanno ben sperare circa la sopravvivenza di questa modalità di comunicare la scienza.
      Difatti, la proposta di Pievatolo di considerare il mutuo appoggio tra scienziati un ethos tra i tanti possibili è più che ragionevole. La stragrande maggioranza della ricerca accademica è schiacciata dai collettivi di pensiero. Ma, se da un lato, l’omogeneizzazione delle argomentazioni e il rapido susseguirsi delle mode, descritte brillantemente da Lucio Russo, sono innegabili, va tuttavia sottolineato che, nell’abbondare di modalità per esporre la propria teoria o modello (abbondanza di archivi e riviste), il parresiasta ha strumenti per essere ascoltato dalla comunità scientifica.
      Tenendo conto della crisi della comunicazione scientifica giustamente menzionata da Pievatolo, che richiama quanto scritto da Shawn Cunningham e John Ziman, il mutuo appoggio al parresiasta può funzionare al meglio nella modalità di accessibilità totale ai risultati scientifici.

      [1] G. D’Avino, M. Souto, M. Masino, J.K.H. Fischer, I. Ratera, X. Fontrodona, G. Giovannetti, M.J. Verstraete, A. Painelli, P. Lunkenheimer, J. Veciana, A. Girlando, Conflicting evidence for ferroelectricity, Nature. 547 (2017) E9–E10. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature22801.

      [2] “‘Quei calcoli erano sbagliati’”, ricercatore italiano svela l’errore del Nobel per la Chimica Stoddart, la Repubblica. (2017). https://www.repubblica.it/scienze/2017/07/26/news/_quei_calcoli_erano_sbagliati_ricercatore_italiano_svela_l_errore_del_nobel_per_la_chimica-171690576/ (accessed November 23, 2021).

      Comment by Francesco Scotognella on 29 November 2021

      Ringrazio il dottor Vincenzo Aglieri per questo commento pertinente e acuto.
      Mi scuso per non avere sottolineato abbastanza in questo lavoro il mio intento di postare l’accento dal pluralismo metodologico di Feyerabend, dove ogni modello è accettabile basta che funzioni (quindi una sorta di anarchia metodologica), alla descrizione di una comunità scientifica anarchica, in quanto non democratica (uno scienziato non cerca la maggioranza dei consensi con la sua teoria) e non autoritaria [1].
      La visione di una comunità scientifica composta di scienziati che sono costretti a trovare, e valutare, la teoria migliore è suggestiva. Infatti, il mutuo appoggio può essere visto come solidarietà tra scienziati, ma anche come un processo molto efficace nel metodo scientifico, che permette di verificare nel modo più rapido la validità di una teoria. Ma questo si vede a posteriori: dopo le verifiche della comunità scientifica si affermerà la teoria del parresiasta. Prima e durante la sfida tra parresiasta e autorità, l’influenza del collettivo di pensiero, di cui l’autorità è parte, ostacolerà l’affermarsi della teoria più efficace. Si pensi alle fatiche di Ignaz Semmelweis durante tutta la sua vita.

      [1] F. Scotognella, Scientist As Parrhesiastes, European Scientific Journal, ESJ. 17 (2021) 1–1. https://doi.org/10.19044/esj.2021.v17n25p1.

      Trovo questa risposta molto convincente, in particolare quando sottolinea che il mutuo appoggio può operare al meglio, perfino in un ambiente anche amministrativamente appiattito sui collettivi di pensiero, se l’accesso ai risultati scientifici è totalmente aperto. Anche per questo le riviste ibride, le quali smerciano l’accesso aperto a chi può permettersi, istituzionalmente o individualmente, di pagare, non sono, rispetto all’accesso chiuso, una riduzione del danno, ma un danno tout court, perché frazionano – e frazionano secondo censo – l’agorà nella quale il parresiasta, inizialmente isolato, può trovare la sua forza.

  • Roberto Gatti, Il popolo tra realtà politica e finzione ideologica (3 comments)

    • Comment by Fabio Mazzocchio on 22 October 2012

      Il contributo risulta molto chiaro nell’esposizione e coerente nell’organizzazione tematica. Puntuali i riferimenti teorici e bibliografici. Interessante sul piano ermeneutico ed esplicativo il confronto che l’autore propone tra il paradigma politico-filosofico antico e quello moderno. Condivisibile la tesi circa il carattere “impolitico” della Modernità, alla luce della teoria politica classica (e della successiva scissione tra antropologia ed etica che si consuma a partire dalle riflessioni dei padri della modernità politica). Su tale sfondo, l’articolo ben illustra l’opposizione tra realtà e costruzione ideologica in riferimento alla categoria di Popolo e ai tentativi di fondazione “dal basso” dello spazio politico senza “sostegno ontologico”.   

      Comment by Sara Mollicchi on 26 October 2012

      Nel paragrafo 4. si afferma che la «prepotenza normativa» dei principi sui quali dovrebbe fondarsi una buona società «è tanto più forte quanto meno risulta sostenuta da un resoconto dell’uomo che sia coerente con essi». Questo passaggio riprende l’idea, più volte presentata nell’articolo, che quanto più i principi etici e politici risultano privi di una fondazione nella natura umana, tanto più i moderni sentono in qualche modo di dover supplire a questa incompletezza accentuandone la natura imperativa e potenzialmente manipolatrice nei confronti della realtà. Qui potrebbe forse essere utile apportare dei chiarimenti sul significato del termine «fondazione». In molti passaggi mi sembra che esso si riferisca alla possibilità di giustificare razionalmente i principi e le norme alle quali si aderisce, tanto che, venuta meno la fondazione, si cade nella loro invocazione retorica, in un atteggiamento decisionistico, o nell’illusione di poter fabbricare i propri valori. D’altra parte la «fondazione», in termini metafisici, si identifica anche con la presenza nella realtà di quelle condizioni che rendono possibile la realizzazione concreta dei principi etici e politici. In linea di principio, credo che si possano distinguere le due letture del tema della fondazione: un conto è essere in grado di mostrare che alcuni principi dovrebbero essere perseguiti anche se potrebbe essere difficile farlo, un altro è indicare le ragioni in base alle quali si può avere fiducia che, in un giorno anche molto lontano, i principi in questione informino la realtà. Ora, è possibile che la «prepotenza normativa» dei principi etico-politici, in linea di principio, scaturisca più facilmente dall’eliminazione dell’idea di «fondazione» nel secondo senso, piuttosto che nel primo. Probabilmente Machiavelli non riesce ‒ anzi, come viene sottolineato, neanche ci prova ‒ a offrirci delle ragioni per le quali dovremmo essere retti e coraggiosi come i Romani, né Rousseau riesce spiegarci cosa ci sia di sbagliato nel sottometterci a leggi che non abbiamo noi stessi deciso. Ma il fatto che si debbano escogitare continui stratagemmi per far agire correttamente uomini «rei» e che la figura semi-divina del Legislatore debba intervenire a trasformare la «moltitudine» in un «popolo» dipende da questo? Si può immaginare di sapere in cosa consiste la virtù politica e di saper offrire ottime ragioni a suo sostegno: ad esempio, una ricostruzione di come sia adeguato alla natura umana cercare di realizzare questa virtù. Eppure chi ascolta, o anche chi parla, può in concreto essere incapace di incarnare questa virtù. La reazione a questo problema che, seppure in maniera molto generica, credo di poter rintracciare nella metafisica greca consiste nel negare la sua esistenza, o, almeno, la sua rilevanza . Questa, se non sbaglio, è la ragione per la quale le due nozioni che ho indicato possono saldarsi e sostenersi a vicenda nella metafisica antica. Operando una (forse troppo) forte semplificazione, possiamo riassumere lo schema di ragionamento in questo modo: se abbiamo buone ragioni da offrire in favore della virtù, esse funzioneranno nel convincere le persone a comportarsi in maniera virtuosa, perché le persone sono tali che per natura tendono a comportarsi secondo ragione ‒ anche se non sempre  ci riescono; se è proprio della natura della quale siamo parte seguire un ordine razionale, possiamo avere la ragionevole speranza di trovare una descrizione appropriata di quest’ordine ‒ anche se in questo momento non sappiamo quale sia, o forse ci sono alcuni aspetti di esso che ci sfuggono. Una delle ragioni per le quali il pensiero moderno non accetta questo modo di ragionare, credo, è il colpo molto potente che la descrizione dell’interiorità umana offerta dai primi cristiani ‒ e non solo ‒ ha assestato a questa concezione del senso morale e della motivazione morale.

      Solo due anni dopo il Detto comune, citato dall’autore per assimilare la posizione di Kant a quella di Locke, la Pace perpetua passa da una posizione liberale a una democratica, che da voce in capitolo a tutto il popolo nello stato, e non più solo a coloro che sono proprietari dei mezzi di produzione (gli indipendenti del Detto comune).

      Questo passaggio così brusco dovrebbe indurre a chiedersi se Kant, con la limitazione del diritto di voto del 1793, stesse effettivamente costruendo, ancora una volta, un modello di stato fondato sull’impolitico, o non tentasse piuttosto di ammettere allo stato – per non farne un concetto vuoto – un’approssimazione empirica di un uomo capace di autodeterminazione politica. Salvo rendersi conto, soltanto due anni dopo, che proprio questa approssimazione empirica rischiava di ridurre lo stato a un impoliticissimo affare di famiglie che decidono per gli altri sulla pace e sulla guerra.

  • Maria Chiara Pievatolo, La bilancia e la spada: scienza di stato e valutazione della ricerca (3 comments)

  • Wilhelm von Humboldt, L’organizzazione interna ed esterna degli istituti scientifici superiori a Berlino (2 comments)

    • Comment by Brunella Casalini on 8 December 2017

      Nell’umanità, però, l’operare dello spirito può progredire solo in quanto co-operare, ovvero quando il successo dell’attività dell’uno non supplisce semplicemente a ciò che manca all’altro, ma ingenera in lui entusiasmo, così da far venire alla luce quella forza universale e originaria che s’irradia negli individui solo in modo particolare o derivato. Per questo motivo, l’organizzazione interna di questi istituti deve creare e conservare una cooperazione ininterrotta…


      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2018

      Un ipertesto esplicativo è ora visibile qui.

  • Roberto Caso, Una valutazione (della ricerca) dal volto umano: la missione impossibile di Andrea Bonaccorsi (2 comments)

    • Questo testo è stato segnalato e discusso su Roars, qui.

      Alessandro Bellavista in Munus, “Rivista giuridica dei servizi pubblici”, fasc. 3, 2016, analizza nel dettaglio gli incubi giuridici consequenziali alla valutazione di stato per quanto concerne il reclutamento universitario. Il testo integrale dell’articolo è visibile qui.

  • Francesca Di Donato, Una questione di qualità o una formalità? L’Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment e il processo di riforma della valutazione della ricerca in Europa (2 comments)

    • Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 30 January 2023

      Uno degli aspetti più incostituzionali della valutazione di stato italiana è la predisposizione di liste di riviste “scientifiche” non per il consenso dei ricercatori, ma per la statuizione di un’autorità di nomina governativa.
      Chiaramente, dopo aver sottratto la valutazione della ricerca alla comunità scientifica per consegnarla all’editoria commerciale in un momento in cui la rivoluzione digitale avrebbe reso possibile alle università una gestione diretta della comunicazione scientifica, e dopo aver ridotto i ricercatori a impiegati sottomessi ai suoi parametri, l’ANVUR deve por rimedio ai danni che ha provocato. Ma come può farlo? Aggiornando le sue liste con le sedi che praticano la scienza aperta?
      Una simile soluzione, mi pare, aggiungerebbe semplicemente un’altra lista, ma non modificherebbe la struttura dispotica e retrograda della valutazione amministrativa centralizzata.
      Le pratiche della scienza aperta, che il “Bollettino telematico di filosofia politica” ha seguito a dispetto dell’ANVUR, sono certamente importanti, ma, proprio perché sono aperte, possono essere controllate da autorità culturali, quali il DOAJ – autorità che, a differenza dell’ANVUR, proprio perché soltanto culturali non possono imporre una Gleichschaltung burocratica.
      L’ANVUR ha fatto e fa riferimento a database proprietari in mano a oligopolisti commerciali come Scopus e Clarivate Analytics, mostrandosi propensa a riconoscere e a imporre il potere di oligopoli esterni. Ma non mi sento affatto di proporre di surrogarli con il DOAJ o con liste composte dall’ANVUR: l’uso amministrativo delle liste infatti continuerebbe a presupporre che la qualità di un testo dipende dalla sede di pubblicazione, cioè dal contenitore e non dal contenuto. Quindi: se l’ANVUR ha aderito all’ARRA per fare qualcosa di più che conservare il proprio ruolo e il proprio potere entro un sistema che si propone di essere diverso da quello tuttora imposto in Italia, io non le chiederei di aggiornare le sue liste. Le chiederei di cancellarle, a favore di indicazioni generali sulle pratiche della scienza aperta – come provvisorio rimedio ai danni e agli sprechi astronomici prodotti dal modo in cui la ricerca è stata valutata finora.

      Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 7 February 2023

      La commissione europea prenderebbe in considerazione questa proposta indiana? Se rendessimo pubbliche e premiassimo le revisioni, le discussioni e l’insegnamento e anonimizzassimo le pubblicazioni, da depositare in archivi aperti come Zenodo o ArXiv, otterremmo due effetti positivi:

      • elimineremmo l’editoria parassitaria e l’inflazione dei testi connessa al publish or perish
      • incoraggeremmo l’autovalutazione da parte dei ricercatori stessi

      Certo, per fare una cosa del genere la commissione europea dovrebbe abbandonare l’ideologia dell’eccellenza e della competitività…

  • Daniela Tafani, Il palladio dei diritti del popolo. La libertà di stampa come contropotere in Kant e negli scritti rivoluzionari (2 comments)

    • Comment by John Christian Laursen on 19 January 2022

      An excellent analysis of the history of Kant’s ideas about freedom of the press – and, more importantly, about his use of rhetoric and carefully chosen vocabulary to get his message across despite the censors. We see where he fits in a century of claims about freedom of the press, and what he adds to them.

      Comment by John Christian Laursen on 19 January 2022

      For more on Bailly, I recommend George Armstrong Kelly, Victims, Authority, and Terror, University of North Carolina Press, 1982.

  • Paolo Bodini, Liberalismo e voto obbligatorio: un confronto (1 comment)

    • Comment by Maria Chiara Pievatolo on 24 August 2019

      Il testo è stato presentato e commentato nel sito principale del “Bollettino telematico di filosofia politica”, qui.

  • Pierpaolo Ciccarelli, Hobbes schmittiano o Schmitt hobbesiano? (1 comment)

  • FAQ sull'accesso aperto (1 comment)

    • Ho tolto dalla domanda 5 la menzione di SSRN perché, essendo stato acquistato da un oligopolista dell’editoria scientifica, non può più essere paragonato, nemmeno vagamente, a una biblioteca pubblica.

  • Daniela Tafani, L’«etica» come specchietto per le allodole. Sistemi di intelligenza artificiale e violazioni dei diritti (1 comment)

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