Jonathan Birch (LSE): “Science and policy in extremis: the UK’s initial response to COVID-19”

For those of us interested in developing norms for effective scientific advising, the SAGE minutes (59 sets of which are now publicly available) are a valuable resource. Drawing on these minutes, I consider the wider lessons for norms of scientific advising that can be learned from the UK’s initial response to coronavirus, highlighting three key issues: (i) the normative force of advice, (ii) the role of reasonable worst-case scenarios, and (iii) the limits of independence and neutrality.


Jonathan Birch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at LSE.