Alvin M. Weinberg: Science and Trans-Science Reading Summary

This paper is an intriguing dive into what society asks of scientists and the relationships that people develop with various technologies. Weinberg points out that society can ask science various sorts of questions and expect science to have all the answers but not every one of them can be answered in a straightforward, logical manner. He proposes that those questions which cannot be explicitly answered should be categorized as “trans-science” in that people have to go a step further to find the answers they are looking for. This can be tied in with the different relationships individuals have with various technologies since some were created by scientists to advance a specific field while others were invented by non-scientists for public use.

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Weinberg continued by stating how something being considered as trans-science can infer that decisions are being made that must go above and beyond the strict limits of what science can achieve. There are methods of undertaking projects that scientists cannot be involved in while the overall public can, such as those that involve taking responsibility for the judgments you make. This however, can cause serious debates between the public and those who consider themselves to be scientists in any field of study. These debates can range from the differences between the ends and means of completing a task to the repercussions that could arise from successfully fulfilling that task. It all comes down to the question of, if society cannot find an answer in general science, what will they do in order to find the answer they are looking for?

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For specific details on what scientists do not involve themselves in or to see some incredible questions that scientists are working hard to answer, please check the links below.

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