Knowledge inconsistencies

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Our first findings show the principal differences between scientific knowledge production and its political usage. We see a reciprocal discontent between the scientific advisors or experts and the advised politicians: both of them blame the other side with not having enough knowledge to make scientific advising more effective.

From the politicians´ perspective, scientists cannot advise political decision-making, as several steps of their knowledge-production show deficits:

1. They cannot depict and make sense of the real world, because they live in a "dream-world“ they cannot see beyond.

2. Their theories cannot explain the actual causalities and interrelations adequately, because they do not match their actual complexity.

3. Apart from lacking complexity, ideological beliefs and the influence of their own interests impair the usefulness of knowledge provided by scientists.

4. Even if these deficits could be neutralized, scientific results are not realizable in the real world.

The mutual criticism of science and politics is hinting at partially unspoken expectations and disappointments on both sides.

Political actors seem to expect scientists to deliver an adequate, objective and interest-free representation of the complex reality and propositions for the solution of practical problems realizable the under current (power-) conditions. Scientists, on the other hand, seem to expect their recommendations – in the sense of a possibly ´best solution´ - to be mostly applied by politics. Evidently, these results are an indicator for the different operational logics of the respective systems and their fundamental incompatibility due to ongoing functional differentiation. Nonetheless, or maybe just because of this incongruousness, the belief in the possibility of efficient policy-making based on scientific advice seems unshaken.

NASSEHI A., VON DER HAGEN-DEMSZKY A. & MAYR K. (2009), The Amendment of the Bavarian Education Law in 2003: A Long Way towards Inclusion, Report, 10.

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