Exploring the Ethics of Bionationalism: Fact-value Dichotomies, Scientism, and Pseudoscience

Conference: The Asian Conference on Ethics, Religion & Philosophy (ACERP2022)
Title: Exploring the Ethics of Bionationalism: Fact-value Dichotomies, Scientism, and Pseudoscience
Stream: Ethics - Ethics and Science
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Deepshikha Sharma, KREA University, India


Terminologically diluting the fact-value dichotomy, Bionationalism has evolved from a fixation on ethnic identities to grandiose visions of cultural heritage. While it plagues with distorted accounts of history, ’Othering’ many and peddling pseudoscience, it heals by acknowledging indigenous epistemologies while validating a sense of belonging through empirical means. Such a weakening of the fact-value divide, nonetheless, emphasises the factual or scientific aspect of affairs. For instance, an ancient literary piece is used to prove the existence of techno-scientific inventions or prescribe cures. A demand for a particular kind of knowledge can be detected, where the value lies primarily in facts. This leads to a subtle form of scientism, as per Haack’s two out of six identifiers. Ironically, it also leads to pseudoscientific practices and false claims. Such an exploration breeds a curiosity about the ethics of knowing itself - is it ethical to collectively prefer one method of knowing? Is it ethical to dilute the lines between fact and value, where obscurantism morphs into scientism? Is it ethical to affirm one’s identity through divisive claims arising from Bionationalistic movements? While there are no simple answers, such questions and considerations help spot conflicts of interest and fabricated narratives, highlighting the necessity to disband such archaic dichotomies for better epistemic practices. Such critical explorations shall equip individuals to make informed ethical choices; whether that be regarding the facts in biology or the values that make up nationalism.

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