Two Millian Arguments: Using Helen Longino's Approach to Solve the Problems Philip Kitcher Targeted with His Argument on Freedom of Inquiry

  • Jaana Eigi University of Tartu
Keywords: freedom of speech, Mill, Kitcher, Longino, social consequences of research


Philip Kitcher argued that the freedom to pursue one's version of the good life is the main aim of Mill's argument for freedom of expression. According to Kitcher, in certain scientific fields, political and epistemological asymmetries bias research toward conclusions that threaten this most important freedom of underprivileged groups. Accordingly, Kitcher claimed that there are Millian grounds for limiting freedom of inquiry in these fields to protect the freedom of the underprivileged. I explore Kitcher's argument in light of the interpretation Helen Longino gave to Mill's argument. She argued that free critical dialogue in the community allows bias to be overcome, through intersubjective criticism of hypotheses and the background assumptions that frame them. I suggest that Longino's approach allows for the identification of the fundamental problems of the research programs Kitcher targeted, and for the rejection of their claims to knowledge. Thus it is possible to address Kitcher's problem without limiting freedom of speech.


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How to Cite
Eigi, J. (2013). Two Millian Arguments: Using Helen Longino’s Approach to Solve the Problems Philip Kitcher Targeted with His Argument on Freedom of Inquiry. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 44-63.