ABSTRACT

The objective knowledge developed in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences is important to liberal democracies for political as well as for educational reasons. This chapter is about the link between the objectiv- ity of epistemic knowledge and the rational thinking required for democ- racy. It draws on Alan Macfarlane’s (2002) ideas about ‘partial loyalty’ (p.271), a concept developed in the literature about the role of contractual associations in making the modern world (the title of Macfarlane’s book). According to this approach, the partial loyalty of social relations of trust enables the simultaneous attachment and separation towards knowledge that is required for objectivity and criticism. Macfarlane (2002) refers to the development of a world of trust and openness as ‘the basis not only for capitalism but also for modern science’ (p. 106), a view of science’s role in modern society shared by Sharplin and discussed in chapter 3. Along with their importance in establishing and maintaining relations of trust between people in societies based on contract not status, objectivity, criticism, and judgement are also features of democratic citizenship.