Title: Nature or neoliberalism? Two views on science and the persistence of environmental controversies

Authors: Adam Briggle

Addresses: Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas, 1155 Union Circle #310920, Denton, Texas 76203-5017, USA

Abstract: Why is the growth of scientific research on environmental issues often accompanied by the exacerbation, rather than the abatement, of political dispute? This paper compares two answers to this question. The first theory explains persistent controversy as a symptom of the richness of nature. The second theory explains persistent controversy as a symptom of neoliberal or free market ideology. The two theories recommend opposite courses of action for making policy progress. To illustrate this debate, the last section sketches a brief case study of air pollution from natural gas drilling.

Keywords: air quality; capitalism; democracy; fracking; free market; junk science; neoliberalism; science policy; tobacco strategy; technocracy; uncertainty; unconventional fossil fuels; worldviews; air pollution; scientific research; environmental issues; political dispute; natural gas drilling.

DOI: 10.1504/IER.2014.063646

Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, 2014 Vol.15 No.2/3, pp.94 - 104

Received: 15 Mar 2013
Accepted: 26 Oct 2013

Published online: 18 Jul 2014 *

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