Science and Values

Edited by Matthew J. Brown (University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Dallas)
Assistant editor: Daniel Hicks
About this topic
Summary Science and values is a multifaceted discussion in the philosophy of science, as there are a variety of ways the conjunction of the two can be understood. Two major theses in this area are (1) that scientific inquiry, rather than being a simple matter of evidence and logic or rule-governed inference, requires a variety of value judgments, and (2) that social (ethical, prudential, political, etc.) values play some role in scientific inquiry. Arguments for the first thesis have generally proceeded from some sort of uncertainty or indeterminacy in the relationship of evidence and theory, such as the underdetermination of theory by evidence. Defenders of this thesis have posited a special set of values, termed "epistemic" or "cognitive", which play a privileged role in scientific inquiry, e.g., simplicity, scope or universality, fruitfulness, accuracy. Proponents of the second thesis have argued either that epistemic values have no special status vis-a-vis other sorts of values, that epistemic values are insufficient to determine theory appraisal, or that decisions about epistemic values depend on contextual social values. Feminist philosophers of science and social studies of science have been particularly important in forwarding the second sort of argument. Those who argue that science is laden with social values have also relied on the argument from inductive risk (the trade-off between false negative and false positive errors).  In addition to these two main issues, the category of social values includes a variety of other important issues, such as the responsible conduct of research, the relation between science and religion, the role of science in policy and politics, the politics of science, the democratization of science, and the extent to which science can generate social and ethical norms (if at all). 
Key works On the role of epistemic values in science, Kuhn 1977, McMullin 1982,and Laudan 1984 are the key works. Rooney 1992 and Longino 1996 examine the distinction between epistemic and non-epistemic (or cognitive and non-cognitive) values. On the role of social values in science, two of the most historically important works are Rudner 1953 and Hempel 1965. Feminist philosophers of science have played a central role in this debate, e.g., Longino 1987, Longino 1990, Nelson 1990, Harding 1991, Fox Keller & E. Longino 1996, Intemann 2001, Harding 2004, and Kourany 2010. Lacey 1999, Anderson 2004, and Intemann 2005 challenge some of the key assumptions of the arguments for values in science debate. Much of the recent debate over social values in science stems from Douglas 2000, Douglas 2009, Kitcher 2001, and Kitcher 2011.    
Introductions Allchin ms; Longino 2008; Wylie et al 2010; Machamer & Wolters 2004; Carrier et al 2008; Kincaid et al 2007
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  1. Radical Pluralism, Ontological Underdetermination, and the Role of Values in Species Classification.Stijn Conix - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Cambridge
    The main claim of this thesis is that value-judgments should play a profound role in the construction and evaluation of species classifications. The arguments for this claim will be presented over the course of five chapters. These are divided into two main parts; part one, which consists of the two first chapters, presents an argument for a radical form of species pluralism; part two, which comprises the remaining chapters, discusses the implications of radical species pluralism for the role of values (...)
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  2. Scientific/Intellectual Movements Remedying Epistemic Injustice: The Case of Indigenous Studies.Inkeri Koskinen & Kristina Rolin - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
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  3. What Is the Harm in Gendered Citation Practices?Darcy McCusker - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
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  4. Theories as Recipes: Third-Order Virtue and Vice.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):391-411.
    A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories—mereological universalism and plenitudinous platonism—and draw (...)
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  5. Prologue: Eugenics and its Study.Robert A. Wilson - forthcoming - In Frank Stahnisch & Erna Kurbegovic (eds.), Exploring the Relationship of Eugenics and Psychiatry: Canadian and Trans-Atlantic Perspectives 1905 – 1972. Athabasca University Press.
    This is the prologues to a collection of essays on eugenics and psychiatry out in the second half of 2020.
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  6. Dehumanization, Disability, and Eugenics.Robert A. Wilson - forthcoming - In Maria E. Kronfeldner (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Dehumanization. New York, NY, USA:
    This paper explores the relationship between eugenics, disability, and dehumanization, with a focus on forms of eugenics beyond Nazi eugenics.
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  7. Sociobiology.Robert A. Wilson - 2014 - Eugenics Archive.
  8. Eugenic Family Studies.Robert A. Wilson - 2014 - Eugenic Archives.
  9. Sorts of People.Robert A. Wilson - 2014 - Eugenics Archive.
  10. Eugenics.Robert A. Wilson - 2014 - Eugenics Archive.
  11. Toward Philosophy of Science’s Social Engagement.Angela Potochnik & Francis Cartieri - 2013 - Erkenntnis 79 (Suppl 5):901-916.
    In recent years, philosophy of science has witnessed a significant increase in attention directed toward the field’s social relevance. This is demonstrated by the formation of societies with related agendas, the organization of research symposia, and an uptick in work on topics of immediate public interest. The collection of papers that follows results from one such event: a 3-day colloquium on the subject of socially engaged philosophy of science held at the University of Cincinnati in October 2012. In this introduction, (...)
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  12. The Epistemic Impact of Theorizing: Generation Bias Implies Evaluation Bias.Finnur Dellsén - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    It is often argued that while biases routinely influence the generation of scientific theories (in the ‘context of discovery’), a subsequent rational evaluation of such theories (in the ‘context of justification’) will ensure that biases do not affect which theories are ultimately accepted. Against this line of thought, this paper shows that the existence of certain kinds of biases at the generation-stage implies the existence of biases at the evaluation-stage. The key argumentative move is to recognize that a scientist who (...)
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  13. Philosophy of Science and the Replicability Crisis.Felipe Romero - 2019 - Philosophy Compass 14 (11).
    Replicability is widely taken to ground the epistemic authority of science. However, in recent years, important published findings in the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences have failed to replicate, suggesting that these fields are facing a “replicability crisis.” For philosophers, the crisis should not be taken as bad news but as an opportunity to do work on several fronts, including conceptual analysis, history and philosophy of science, research ethics, and social epistemology. This article introduces philosophers to these discussions. First, I (...)
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  14. Reports of the Death of Value-Free Science Are Greatly Exaggerated.Josef Mattes - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):689-699.
    The present paper discusses the claim that value-free science is impossible. After applauding the observation of Colombo et al. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7: 743–763, that this is at least to a considerable extent a psychological question, and should therefore be studied using the methods of psychological science, the studies performed by these authors were examined and unfortunately found seriously wanting in various respects. Beyond the merits or demerits of that particular piece of work, the discussion lead to a (...)
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  15. What Is Epistemic Public Trust in Science?Gürol Irzik & Faik Kurtulmus - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1145-1166.
    We provide an analysis of the public's having warranted epistemic trust in science, that is, the conditions under which the public may be said to have well-placed trust in the scientists as providers of information. We distinguish between basic and enhanced epistemic trust in science and provide necessary conditions for both. We then present the controversy regarding the connection between autism and measles–mumps–rubella vaccination as a case study to illustrate our analysis. The realization of warranted epistemic public trust in science (...)
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  16. Max Plank’s Philosophy and Physics: An Introduction to The Philosophy of Physics.Michael J. Shaffer - forthcoming - In The Philosophy of Physics. Montreal: Minkowski Press. pp. 1-5.
  17. Which Values Should Be Built Into Economic Measures?S. Andrew Schroeder - 2019 - Economics and Philosophy 35 (3):521-536.
    Many economic measures are structured to reflect ethical values. I describe three attitudes towards this: maximalism, according to which we should aim to build all relevant values into measures; minimalism, according to which we should aim to keep values out of measures; and an intermediate view. I argue the intermediate view is likely correct, but existing versions are inadequate. In particular, economists have strong reason to structure measures to reflect fixed, as opposed to user-assessable, values. This implies that, despite disagreement (...)
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  18. Understanding Implicit Bias: Putting the Criticism Into Perspective.Michael Brownstein, Alex Madva & Bertram Gawronski - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
  19. Well-Ordered Science’s Basic Problem.Cristian Larroulet Philippi - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):365-375.
    Kitcher has proposed an ideal-theory account—well-ordered science (WOS)— of the collective good that science’s research agenda should promote. Against criticism regarding WOS’s action-guidance, Kitcher has advised critics not to confuse substantive ideals and the ways to arrive at them, and he has defended WOS as a necessary and useful ideal for science policy. I provide a distinction between two types of ideal-theories that helps clarifying WOS’s elusive nature. I use this distinction to argue that the action-guidance problem that WOS faces (...)
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  20. Pesticides, Neurodevelopmental Disagreement, and Bradford Hill’s Guidelines.Kristin Shrader-Frechette & Christopher ChoGlueck - 2017 - Accountability in Research 1 (24):30-42.
    Neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism affect one-eighth of all U.S. newborns. Yet scientists, accessing the same data and using Bradford-Hill guidelines, draw different conclusions about the causes of these disorders. They disagree about the pesticide-harm hypothesis, that typical United States prenatal pesticide exposure can cause neurodevelopmental damage. This article aims to discover whether apparent scientific disagreement about this hypothesis might be partly attributable to questionable interpretations of the Bradford-Hill causal guidelines. Key scientists, who claim to employ Bradford-Hill causal guidelines, yet (...)
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  21. Public Trust in Science: Exploring the Idiosyncrasy-Free Ideal.Marion Boulicault & S. Andrew Schroeder - manuscript
    What makes science trustworthy to the public? This chapter examines one proposed answer: the trustworthiness of science is based at least in part on its independence from the idiosyncratic values, interests, and ideas of individual scientists. That is, science is trustworthy to the extent that following the scientific process would result in the same conclusions, regardless of the particular scientists involved. We analyze this "idiosyncrasy-free ideal" for science by looking at philosophical debates about inductive risk, focusing on two recent proposals (...)
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  22. Scientific Practice and the Moral Task of Neurophilosophy.Christian Carrozzo - 2019 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 10 (3):115-117.
  23. Do Collaborators in Science Need to Agree?Haixin Dang - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
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  24. Epistemic Injustice and Psychiatric Classification.Anke Bueter - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
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  25. Speech Act Theory and the Multiple Aims of Science.Paul L. Franco - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1005-1015.
    I draw upon speech act theory to understand the speech acts appropriate to the multiple aims of scientific practice and the role of nonepistemic values in evaluating speech acts made relative to those aims. First, I look at work that distinguishes explaining from describing within scientific practices. I then argue speech act theory provides a framework to make sense of how explaining, describing, and other acts have different felicity conditions. Finally, I argue that if explaining aims to convey understanding to (...)
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  26. Learning About Forest Futures Under Climate Change Through Transdisciplinary Collaboration Across Traditional and Western Knowledge Systems.Erica Smithwick, Christopher Caldwell, Alexander Klippel, Robert M. Scheller, Nancy Tuana, Rebecca Bliege Bird, Klaus Keller, Dennis Vickers, Melissa Lucash, Robert E. Nicholas, Stacey Olson, Kelsey L. Ruckert, Jared Oyler, Casey Helgeson & Jiawei Huang - 2019 - In Stephen G. Perz (ed.), Collaboration Across Boundaries for Social-Ecological Systems Science. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 153-184.
    We provide an overview of a transdisciplinary project about sustainable forest management under climate change. Our project is a partnership with members of the Menominee Nation, a Tribal Nation located in northern Wisconsin, United States. We use immersive virtual experiences, translated from ecosystem model outcomes, to elicit human values about future forest conditions under alternative scenarios. Our project combines expertise across the sciences and humanities as well as across cultures and knowledge systems. Our management structure, governance, and leadership behaviors have (...)
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  27. Why Simpler Computer Simulation Models Can Be Epistemically Better for Informing Decisions.Casey Helgeson, Vivek Srikrishnan, Klaus Keller & Nancy Tuana - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    For computer simulation models to usefully inform climate risk management decisions, uncertainties in model projections must be explored and characterized. Because doing so requires running the model many times over, and because computing resources are finite, uncertainty assessment is more feasible using models that need less computer processor time. Such models are generally simpler in the sense of being more idealized, or less realistic. So modelers face a trade-off between realism and extent of uncertainty quantification. Seeing this trade-off for the (...)
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  28. Crowd-Sourced Science: Societal Engagement, Scientific Authority and Ethical Practice.Sean F. Johnston, Benjamin Franks & Sandy Whitelaw - 2017 - Journal of Information Ethics 26 (1):49-65.
    This paper discusses the implications for public participation in science opened by the sharing of information via electronic media. The ethical dimensions of information flow and control are linked to questions of autonomy, authority and appropriate exploitation of knowledge. It argues that, by lowering the boundaries that limit access and participation by wider active audiences, both scientific identity and practice are challenged in favor of extra-disciplinary and avocational communities such as scientific enthusiasts and lay experts. Reconfigurations of hierarchy, mediated by (...)
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  29. Democratic Values: A Better Foundation for Public Trust in Science.S. Andrew Schroeder - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz023.
    There is a growing consensus among philosophers of science that core parts of the scientific process involve non-epistemic values. This undermines the traditional foundation for public trust in science. In this article I consider two proposals for justifying public trust in value-laden science. According to the first, scientists can promote trust by being transparent about their value choices. On the second, trust requires that the values of a scientist align with the values of an individual member of the public. I (...)
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  30. Inquiry Tickets: Values, Pursuit, and Underdetermination.Marina DiMarco & Kareem Khalifa - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5).
    We offer a new account of the role of values in theory choice that captures a temporal dimension to the values themselves. We argue that non-epistemic values sometimes serve as “inquiry tickets,” justifying scientists’ pursuit of certain questions in the short run, while the answers to those questions mitigate transient underdetermination in the long run. Our account of inquiry tickets shows that the role of non-epistemic values need not be restricted to belief or acceptance in order to be relevant to (...)
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  31. The Role of Interests in Science.W. Newton-Smith - 1984 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures 18:59-73.
    A series of lectures organized in part by the Society for Applied Philosophy and entitled ‘Philosophy and Practice’ is presumably aimed at displaying the practical implications of philosophical doctrines and/or applying philosophical skills to practical questions. The topic of this paper, the role of interests in science, certainly meets the first condition. For as will be argued there are a number of theses concerning the role of interests in science which have considerable implications for how one should see the scientific (...)
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  32. Disagreement or Denialism? “Invasive Species Denialism” and Ethical Disagreement in Science.David M. Frank - forthcoming - Synthese:1-29.
    Recently, invasion biologists have argued that some of the skepticism expressed in the scientific and lay literatures about the risks of invasive species and other aspects of the consensus within invasion biology is a kind of science denialism. This paper presents an argument that, while some claims made by skeptics of invasion biology share important features with paradigm cases of science denialism, others express legitimate ethical concerns that, even if one disagrees, should not be dismissed as denialist. Further, this case (...)
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  33. Disagreement, Democracy, and the Goals of Science: Is a Normative Philosophy of Science Possible, If Ethical Inquiry Is Not?Arnon Keren - 2011 - Philosophy 86 (4):525-544.
    W.V.Quine and Philip Kitcher have both developed naturalistic approaches to the philosophy of science which are partially based on a skeptical view about the possibility of rational inquiry into certain questions of value. Nonetheless, both Quine and Kitcher do not wish to give up on the normative dimension of the philosophy of science. I argue that Kitcher's recent argument against the specification of the goal of science in terms of truth raises a problem for Quine's account of the normative dimensions (...)
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  34. Kevin Elliott. A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science.Sarah Wieten - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):378-383.
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  35. Broadening the Scope of Our Understanding of Mechanisms: Lessons From the History of the Morning-After Pill.Christopher ChoGlueck - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    Philosophers of science and medicine now aspire to provide useful, socially relevant accounts of mechanism. Existing accounts have forged the path by attending to mechanisms in historical context, scientific practice, the special sciences, and policy. Yet, their primary focus has been on more proximate issues related to therapeutic effectiveness. To take the next step toward social relevance, we must investigate the challenges facing researchers, clinicians, and policy makers involving values and social context. Accordingly, we learn valuable lessons about the connections (...)
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  36. Religion in the Making: The Emergence of the Sciences of Religion.Arie L. Molendijk & Peter Pels (eds.) - 1998 - Brill.
    This volume explores the ways in which religion became the object of scientific research in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
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  37. Adjusting Inferential Thresholds to Reflect Nonepistemic Values.Kim Kaivanto & Daniel Steel - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (2):255-285.
    Many philosophers have challenged the ideal of value-free science on the grounds that social or moral values are relevant to inferential thresholds. But given this view, how precisely and to what extent should scientists adjust their inferential thresholds in light of nonepistemic values? We suggest that signal detection theory provides a useful framework for addressing this question. Moreover, this approach opens up further avenues for philosophical inquiry and has important implications for philosophical debates concerning inductive risk. For example, the signal (...)
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  38. Philosophical Import of Non-Epistemic Values in Clinical Trials and Data Interpretation.Joby Varghese - 2019 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 41 (2):14.
    In this essay, I argue that at least in two phases of pharmaceutical research, especially while assessing the adequacy of the accumulated data and its interpretation, the influence of non-epistemic values is necessary. I examine a specific case from the domain of pharmaceutical research and demonstrate that there are multiple competing sets of values which may legitimately or illegitimately influence different phases of the inquiry. In such cases, the choice of the appropriate set of values—epistemic as well as non-epistemic—should be (...)
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  39. Por Que a Ciência Não Resolve Nossos Problemas?Daniel Durante - 2015 - Dialektiké 2 (2):3-37.
    Além de responder à pergunta título, pretende-se também apresentar as linhas gerais de um caminho que vem sendo proposto por alguns pensadores sobre de que modo a ciência poderia se modificar de modo a que pudéssemos utilizá-la para resolver nossos principais problemas. Para tanto iniciaremos explicitando o que consideramos as características mais fundamentais da racionalidade científica hegemônica, a saber: o atomismo e o método axiomático. Em seguida, apresentamos alguns conhecidos problemas das ciências, evidenciando suas relações com estas características fundamentais. Tais (...)
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  40. Real Kinds in Real Time: On Responsible Social Modeling.Theodore Bach - 2019 - The Monist 102 (2):236-258.
    There is broad agreement among social researchers and social ontologists that the project of dividing humans into social kinds should be guided by at least two methodological commitments. First, a commitment to what best serves moral and political interests, and second, a commitment to describing accurately the causal structures of social reality. However, researchers have not sufficiently analyzed how these two commitments interact and constrain one another. In the absence of that analysis, several confusions have set in, threatening to undermine (...)
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  41. What is Inductive Risk?: Kevin C. Elliott and Ted Richards : Exploring Inductive Risk: Case Studies of Values in Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017, 312pp, $39.95 PB. [REVIEW]S. Schroeder - 2019 - Metascience 28 (1):29-32.
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  42. Collaborative Scientific Knowledge and Testimonial Justification.Angella Yamamoto - unknown
    Is it possible to gain justified scientific knowledge from the testimony of a collective of scientists? In this thesis, I discuss whether or not it is possible to use current theories of testimonial justification for collective scientific knowledge. Our current theories on testimony and testimonial justification give us the conditions for when it is justified to acquire knowledge from someone or something else. However, these theories on testimonial justification focus on instances of testimony between individuals. That is, current theories on (...)
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  43. What's the Point of Authors?Joshua Habgood-Coote - unknown
    How can we work out who should be listed as the author of a paper? This paper aims to untangle this question, considering the different functions played by authorship attributions, and considering how these functions can best be met. The first part of the paper distinguishes five functions of authorship attributions: allocating credit, constructing a speaker, enabling credibility judgements, supporting accountability, and creating an intellectual market. The second part of the paper argues that these functions are in tension, giving different (...)
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  44. Values, Regulation, and Species Delimitation.Stijn Conix - 2018 - Zootaxa 4415 (2):390-392.
    Garnett and Christidis (2017) [hereafter GC] recently proposed that the International Union of the Biological Sciences should centrally regulate the taxonomy of complex organisms. Their proposal was met with much criticism (e.g. Hołyński 2017; Thomson et al., 2018), and perhaps most extensively from Raposo et al. (2017) in this journal. The main target of this criticism was GC’s call to, first, “restrict the freedom of taxonomic action”, and, second, to let social, political and conservation values weigh in on species classification. (...)
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  45. Kevin C. Elliott and Ted Richards , Exploring Inductive Risk. Case Studies of Values in Science.Federica Russo - forthcoming - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.
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  46. Fundamentos Metafísicos da Ciência Moderna: Uma análise/Metaphysical Fundaments of Modern Science: An Analysis.Filicio Mulinari - 2015 - Pensando: Revista de Filosofia 6 (12):69-80.
    A visão da ciência enquanto um saber puramente objetivo e, por isso, livre de suposições metafísicas, ainda persiste na contemporaneidade, seja no âmbito ordinário do senso comum, seja nos meios científicos universitários. Sob essa perspectiva, percebe-se que há certo olhar que prevalece como uma máxima: a ciência moderna suplantou a metafísica. Noutros termos, ainda hoje se acredita que, após as descobertas da Revolução Científica, com Copérnico, Galileu, Newton, entre outros, o discurso metafísico foi extinto da ciência. Embora essa visão sobre (...)
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  47. Well-Ordered Science and Public Trust in Science.Gürol Irzik & Faik Kurtulmus - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Building, restoring and maintaining well-placed trust between scientists and the public is a difficult yet crucial social task requiring the successful cooperation of various social actors and institutions. Philip Kitcher’s takes up this challenge in the context of liberal democratic societies by extending his ideal model of “well-ordered science” that he had originally formulated in his. However, Kitcher nowhere offers an explicit account of what it means for the public to invest epistemic trust in science. Yet in order to understand (...)
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  48. Exploration and Exploitation in Scientific Inquiry: Towards a Society of Explorers.Roope Oskari Kaaronen - unknown
    This essay argues that scientific systems have two main functions typical to self-organising adaptive and complex systems: Exploration for and exploitation of information. The self-organising nature, or spontaneous order, of scientific systems was prominently conceived by polymath Michael Polanyi. Revisiting Polanyi’s philosophy of science reveals why scientific freedom is still today as important a value as ever, even though the notion of “freedom” itself must be revised. Namely, freedom of inquiry should serve to maintain a diverse and adaptive balance between (...)
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  49. A Tapestry of Values: Response to My Critics.Kevin C. Elliott - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (11).
    This response addresses the excellent responses to my book provided by Heather Douglas, Janet Kourany, and Matt Brown. First, I provide some comments and clarifications concerning a few of the highlights from their essays. Second, in response to the worries of my critics, I provide more detail than I was able to provide in my book regarding my three conditions for incorporating values in science. Third, I identify some of the most promising avenues for further research that flow out of (...)
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  50. Adding to the Tapestry. [REVIEW]Janet A. Kourany - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (9).
    Kevin Elliott’s A Tapestry of Values is a terrific book, chock full of valuable case studies and incisive analyses. It aims to be useful not only to students of philosophy of science and the other areas of science studies but also to practicing scientists, policymakers, and the public at large—a tall order. And it succeeds admirably for many of these folks. In my comments I suggest what it would need for the rest.
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