„Francis Bacon, in his New Atlantis, could charge his elite scientists in Salomon’s House with practicing self-censorship to avoid publicizing dangerous knowledge. Here is how the Father of Salomon’s House describes their practice: “We have consultations, which of the inventions and experiences which we have discovered shall be published, and which not: and take all a oath of secrecy for the concealing of those which we think fit to keep secret: though some of those we do reveal sometime to the State, and some not.” Bacon, the first prophet of the new relation between science and society and of the “conquest of nature for the relief of man’s estate,” knew better than we that knowledge is dangerous, that publication is a public and politically relevant act, and that self-censorship on the part of scientists is necessary and desirable. The passage is also remarkable for its wonderful ambiguity regarding whether scientists or the State has ultimate authority over dangerous knowledge“

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Leon R. Kass20
American academic 1939

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