Innocent, Guilty or Reluctant Midwife? On the Reciprocal Relevance of STS and Post-truth

Luigi Pellizzoni


Abstract: The rise of post-truth has called into question STS, mostly in the defendant’s role. A critique from outside, such as Lee McIntyre’s, provides a debatable account of science deconstruction and its appropriation by “right-wing postmodernism”. Within STS, post-truth has revamped discussions on the implications of the symmetry principle, or elicited a reiteration of arguments for more inclusive generation of public facts. Steve Fuller stands out as a dissonant, more intriguing voice. He praises post-truth for triggering and expressing an emancipatory thrust against elites and an institutional rearrangement of science, and blames STS for being too shy with its midwifing role. However, he also underestimates the import of ongoing changes. The struggle over truth has shifted to an ontological level, raising doubts on optimistic views. If STS is relevant to post-truth, the vice versa also applies. Post-truth indicates that STS has to equip itself for a sociotechnical world ever-more distant from the one in which it has developed.

Keywords: post-truth; co-production; proaction; responsible innovation; precipitatory governance.

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