Science and the ethics of curiosity

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Current Science, CURRENT SCIENCE, Volume 97, Number 6, p.756–767 (2009)



Curiosity, ethics, scientific practice, social responsibility, virtue


It is commonly believed that the capacity for curiosity is essential for doing science. Curiosity is also the one notion that allows science to keep ethics at bay. While there have been efforts to develop an ethics of science, they have largely been directed to ?applied? sciences. But the fundamental ethical problem is about curiosity itself. Should curiosity be restrained? The concept of curiosity has a long and interesting history, and the birth of modern science is concurrent with attempts to modify the meaning of curiosity. This paper discusses how the scientific community rehabilitated curiosity in order to negate ethical challenges to the practice of science and also suggests ways to inquire into the ethics of curiosity.