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Quelle autonomie pour la recherche ? Analyse épistémologique des conditions de la gouvernance des sciences.

Abstract : The autonomy of the scientific field, understood as its ability to set itself its internal composition, its norms and its objects, is the result of compromises between two antagonistic forces : on the one hand, the inscription of scientific and technical development in a certain social context that provides it with the resources it needs and that tends to put it under the dependence of objectives foreign to the scientific community ; on the other hand, a defense of scientific autonomy as a political and epistemological necessity. The emergence of a need for the control of scientific progress, and the raise of the dependence of research to market economy, seems to result in the relative downturn of this call for autonomy.In that context, the current modifications in the way scientific research is governed raise epistemological questions : which degree of autonomy should we grant the scientific field, and individual researchers, in order to optimize the knowledge production ? How should we organize scientific research so that the limitations of its autonomy have positive epistemological effects ? In this thesis, we adopt a properly philosophical perspective on issues often studied by economists and specialists of science policy management, most notably that of the best ways of funding scientific disciplines, communities, or individual researchers.First, we carry out an analysis of the arguments elaborated to defend scientific autonomy and freedom of research as an epistemological requirement. We then rebuild on this basis two pro-autonomy theses that should be taken seriously into account, for the criticisms generally leveled against them are not sound. The ''liberal thesis'' claims that individual freedom promotes epistemic productivity by motivating creativity, anticonformism, and the diversification of the problems, questions and objects under study. The ''anti-utilitarian'' thesis distinguishes between fundamental and applied science and argues for the epistemological superiority of a research exclusively dedicated to cognitive problems.We then propose a critical analysis of these two theses. Against the promotion of science as an exploratory activity, we propose, justify and renew the pragmatist perspective on inquiry, drawing on case studies and contemporaneous works linked to the practical turn. We conclude that a laissez-faire principle does not optimize epistemic fecundity.We then deal with the anti-utilitarian thesis. We first criticize the distinction between fundamental and applied science as introducing a gap among scientific practices according to the goals they pursue. We propose to forgo this opposition in favor of a different one, between endogenous problems (emerging in the course of scientific practices), and exogenous problems (identified outside the scientific field).By considering the history of molecular biology, we show the constitutive permeability of the research process to exogenous problems, we give some details about the mechanisms of these interactions in the case of complex objects, and we show how this permeability is positive.Finally, we give these epistemological analysis a practical turn, by trying to infer from them some conditions that would fit with the properties of the research process we previously identified. We begin by showing that the principles guiding current scheme of governance of public research do not satisfy the epistemic constraints we propose to take into account. Against the excessively centralized selection of projects by way of peer-review processes, on the one hand, and in opposition to the differentiation of the funding sources between objects or types of research on the other hand, we propose a decentralized and participative funding scheme, reflecting the diversity of practices and the local convergence of interests.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 4:00:16 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-03191935, version 1




Baptiste Bedessem. Quelle autonomie pour la recherche ? Analyse épistémologique des conditions de la gouvernance des sciences.. Philosophie. Université Grenoble Alpes; Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAP003⟩. ⟨tel-03191935⟩



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