The Silence of the Lambdas: Science, Technology, and Public Knowledge

By Lynn Kahle and Kurtus Kahle.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

John Ziman has argued that scientific knowledge must be public, that it must emanate from a thorough and mutual exchange of information. The objectivity and rationality that characterize science are social, not individual, constructions, especially for exploratory research. Exploratory research feeds into the social interactions among scientists that authenticate or repudiate knowledge through evaluation, criticism, and scrutiny. The Ph.D. training model, scientific conferences, invited speeches, external referees for papers and articles, and public discussion all have important functions in adjudicating the public dimension of science. Exploratory research has maximum impact when conducted in a context of freedom of speech, freedom of communication, freedom to learn, and freedom to teach.
 This paper critically evaluates the relation between pure science and technology (applied science), examining especially the relative scientific contribution of proprietary, industrial research. To the extent that secret studies and confidential algorithms dominate these industrial research efforts, they subvert the social and public dimension of science. In spite of sidestepping public scrutiny, some industrial organizations claim to sell or create knowledge at the same level as might appear, for example, in a reputable pure scientific journal. Reasons that secrets should not be viewed as optimal science are enumerated in this paper, as well as strategies to enhance the social dimension of knowledge.

Keywords: Public Knowledge, Social Dimension of Knowledge, Social Values, Emotions

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.137-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.111MB).

Dr. Lynn Kahle

Giustina Professor of Business Administration, Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA

Lynn R. Kahle is the Ehrman Giustina Professor of Business Administration at the University of Oregon, USA. He has served as President of the Society for Consumer Psychology and as Editor of Sports Marketing Quarterly. He was the Founding Director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and is currently President of the American Marketing Association Special Interest Group on Sports Marketing. One of his interests is the social psychology of knowledge.

Kurtus Kahle

Student, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA


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