• Question: Do you feel that scientific research is a good use of the governments money?

    Asked by abbierose to Martin on 25 Sep 2017.
    • Photo: Martin Pickup

      Martin Pickup answered on 25 Sep 2017:

      Yes, I do think it is. Here’s a few reasons why:

      — There can be long-term practical benefits of research (even in philosophy!). For example, the birth of the physical sciences, psychology and computing can all trace back to philosophy (at least in part).

      — Humans are curious creatures, and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake is, I think, valuable. And the government can and should support these valuable things.

      — A bit like the last point, I think the government should support culture generally: art, film, music, sport etc. And I think academic research falls into that camp.

      — Finally, if the government won’t support scientific research, who will? I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave it to (just) people like drug companies or really rich donors. That might make research biased, and government funding lets there be independence.

      I hope that’s a helpful reply. Let me know what you think, or if you want to hear more!