Traditionally, the cognitive values have been thought to be a collective pool of considerations in science that frequently trade against each other. I argue here that a finer grained account of the value of cognitive values can help reduce such tensions. I separate the values into three groups, minimal epistemic criteria, pragmatic considerations, and genuine epistemic assurance, based in part on the distinction between values that describe theories per se and values that describe theory-evidence relationships. This allows us to clarify (...) why these values are central to science and what role they should play, while reducing the tensions among them. (shrink)
The moral terrain of science, the full range of ethical considerations that are part of the scientific endeavor, has not been mapped. Without such a map, we cannot examine the responsibilities of scientists to see if the institutions of science are adequately constructed. This paper attempts such a map by describing four dimensions of the terrain: (1) the bases to which scientists are responsible (scientific reasoning, the scientific community, and the broader society); (2) the nature of the responsibility (general or (...) role); (3) the level of responsibility (minimum demand or ideal); and (4) who bears the responsibility (the individual or the community). Such a map will be used to elucidate the recent debate over the publication of studies concerning H5N1 flu virus. (shrink)
This article takes up Smart’s suggestion to examine the way the law works in practice. It explores the context of current criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences in Queensland, Australia. This article argues that legal method is applied outside the higher courts or “judge-oriented” practice and that the obstacles inherent to legal method can be identified in the practices of police, lower court staff, magistrates and lawyers. This article suggests that it may be difficult to deconstruct legal method, even by (...) focussing on law in practice, and as a result it may be difficult to successfully challenge law’s truth claims in this way. The analysis of criminal prosecutions of domestic violence offences reported here supports Smart’s earlier findings that women and children who seek redress through the criminal justice process find the process at best ambivalent and at worst, destructive. However, the article also shows how, in the Queensland context, women sometimes find their way to feminism and personal empowerment by going to law. (shrink)
Weighing complex sets of evidence (i.e., from multiple disciplines and often divergent in implications) is increasingly central to properly informed decision-making. Determining “where the weight of evidence lies” is essential both for making maximal use of available evidence and figuring out what to make of such evidence. Weighing evidence in this sense requires an approach that can handle a wide range of evidential sources (completeness), that can combine the evidence with rigor, and that can do so in a way other (...) experts can assess and critique (transparency). But the democratic context in need of weight-of-evidence analysis also places additional constraints on the process, including communicability of the process to the general public, the need for an approach that can be used across a broad range of contexts (scope), and timeliness of process (practicality). I will compare qualitative and quantitative approaches with respect to both traditional epistemic criteria and criteria that arise from the democratic context, and argue that a qualitative explanatory approach can best meet the criteria and elucidate how to utilize the other approaches. This should not be surprising, as the approach I argue for is the one that most closely tracks general scientific reasoning. (shrink)
Fraud from the frontlines: the importance of being nice Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9492-2 Authors Heather Douglas, Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, 815 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37996-0480, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Philosophy of science was once a much more socially engaged endeavor, and can be so again. After a look back at philosophy of science in the 1930s-1950s, I turn to discuss the current potential for returning to a more engaged philosophy of science. Although philosophers of science have much to offer scientists and the public, I am skeptical that much can be gained by philosophers importing off-the-shelf discussions from philosophy of science to science and society. Such efforts will likely look (...) like efforts to do applied ethics by merely applying ethical theories to particular contexts and problems. While some insight can be gained by these kinds of endeavors, the most interesting and pressing problems for the actual practitioners and users of science are rarely addressed. Instead, I recommend that philosophers of science engage seriously and regularly with scientists and/or the users of science in order to gain an understanding of the conceptual issues on the ground. From such engagement, flaws in the traditional philosophical frameworks, and how such flaws can be remedied, become apparent. Serious engagement with the contexts of science thus provides the most fruit for philosophy of science per se and for the practitioners whom the philosophers aim to assist. And if one focuses on contexts where science has its most social relevance, these efforts can help to provide the thing that philosophy of science now lacks: a full-bodied philosophy of science in society. (shrink)
Douglas proposes a new ideal in which values serve an essential function throughout scientific inquiry, but where the role values play is constrained at key points, protecting the integrity and objectivity of science.
Although prediction has been largely absent from discussions of explanation for the past 40 years, theories of explanation can gain much from a reintroduction. I review the history that divorced prediction from explanation, examine the proliferation of models of explanation that followed, and argue that accounts of explanation have been impoverished by the neglect of prediction. Instead of a revival of the symmetry thesis, I suggest that explanation should be understood as a cognitive tool that assists us in generating new (...) predictions. This view of explanation and prediction clarifies what makes an explanation scientific and why inference to the best explanation makes sense in science. *Received August 2009; revised September 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee, 801 McClung Tower, Knoxville, TN 37920‐0480; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Although a strict dichotomy between facts and values is no longer accepted, less attention has been paid to the roles values should play in our acceptance of factual statements, or scientific descriptive claims. This paper argues that values, whether cognitive or ethical, should never preclude or direct belief on their own. Our wanting something to be true will not make it so. Instead, values should only be used to consider whether the available evidence provides sufficient warrant for a claim. This (...) argument is made for all relevant values, including cognitive, ethical, and social values. The rational integrity of science depends not on excluding some values and including others in the reasoning process, but of constraining all values to their proper role in belief acceptance. (shrink)
In the debate over the role of science in environmental policy, it is often assumed that science can and should be clearly demarcated from policy. In this paper, I will argue that neither is the case. The difficulty of actually differentiating the scientific arena from the policy arena becomes apparent the moment one attempts to actually locate the boundary. For example, it is unclear whether scientific summaries to be used by regulatory agencies are in the realm of science or policy. (...) If science, then should the authors consider the regulatory implications of uncertainties? If policy, then what is the relevance of a peer review of the document solely by scientists? This descriptive problem is only accentuated by a normative problem: should we try to keep the two realms distinct? The traditional answer has been yes, for the primary reason that the science should not be infected by the social and ethical values so prevalent in the policy realm. I will argue that, to the contrary, social and ethical values are desirable components of scientific reasoning. Indeed, on closer examination, the norms for valuesin reasoning are the same for science and policy. If I am correct, the pressure to delineate science from policy abates. (shrink)
A recent case in the Northern Territory of Australia has raised the issues of intra-racial rape and the legal recognition of traditional marriages between Indigenous people. The defendant in the Jamilmira case was charged with statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl. He argued that the girl’s status as his promised wife should lead to mitigation of his sentence. Members of the Northern Territory judiciary and others in the community were divided in their response to his claim. Ultimately the case led (...) to reform of the law in relation to the recognition of traditional marriage, a response which outraged some members of the Indigenous community. In this article I examine the various representations of culture and individuals that were utilised by ‘the law’ and how these representations informed the legal response. In the process I question the limits of my own role as a ‘white middle-class feminist’ in the context of explorations of law and culture. Is there a space to become involved in these debates without being complicit in fostering racism and prejudice and without reverting to stereotypes and cultural arrogance? (shrink)
The terms ``objectivity'''' and ``objective'''' are among the mostused yet ill-defined terms in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Common to all thevarious usages is the rhetorical force of ``I endorse this and you should too'''', orto put it more mildly, that one should trust the outcome of the objectivity-producing process.The persuasive endorsement and call to trust provide some conceptual coherenceto objectivity, but the reference to objectivity is hopefully not merely an attemptat persuasive endorsement. What, in addition to epistemological endorsement,does (...) objectivity carry with it? Drawing on recent historical and philosophical work,I articulate eight operationally accessible and distinct senses of objectivity.While there are links among these senses, providing cohesion to the concept, I argue thatnone of the eight senses is strictly reducible to the others, giving objectivity itsirreducible complexity. (shrink)
Although epistemic values have become widely accepted as part of scientific reasoning, non-epistemic values have been largely relegated to the "external" parts of science (the selection of hypotheses, restrictions on methodologies, and the use of scientific technologies). I argue that because of inductive risk, or the risk of error, non-epistemic values are required in science wherever non-epistemic consequences of error should be considered. I use examples from dioxin studies to illustrate how non-epistemic consequences of error can and should be considered (...) in the internal stages of science: choice of methodology, characterization of data, and interpretation of results. (shrink)