Using Values as Evidence When There’s Evidence for Your Values

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 26 (1):5-37 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


I have argued that political values are beliefs informed, more or less well, by the evidence of experience and that, where relevant and well-supported by evidence, the inclusion of political values in scientific theorizing can increase the objectivity of research. The position I endorse has been called the “values-as-evidence” approach. In this essay I respond to three kinds of resistance to this approach, using examples of feminist political values. Solomon questions whether values are beliefs that can be tested, Alcoff argues that even if our values are beliefs that can be tested, testing them might not be desirable because doing so assigns these important values a contingency that weakens their normative force, and Yap argues that the approach is too idealistic in its articulation of the role of evidence in our political deliberations. In response, I discuss the ways that values can be tested, I analyze the evidential strength of feminist values in science, and I argue that the evidence-based nature of these values is neither a weakness nor an idealization. Problems with political values affecting science properly concern the dogmatic ways that evaluative beliefs are sometimes held—a problem that arises with dogmatism toward descriptive beliefs as well. I conclude that scientists, as with the rest of us, ought to adopt a pragmatically-inclined appreciation of the fallible, inductive process by which we gather evidence in support of any of our beliefs, whether they are described as evaluative or descriptive.



External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Catching the WAVE: The Weight-Adjusting Account of Values and Evidence.Boaz Miller - 2014 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 47:69-80.
Evidence: wanted, alive or dead.Stathis Psillos - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (3):357-381.
The Value of Cognitive Values.Heather Douglas - 2013 - Philosophy of Science 80 (5):796-806.
Science, Values, and the Priority of Evidence.P. D. Magnus - 2018 - Logos and Episteme 9 (4):413-431.
Weaving Value Judgment into the Tapestry of Science.Matthew J. Brown - 2018 - Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (10).


Added to PP

355 (#52,818)

6 months
114 (#28,470)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sharyn Clough
Oregon State University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Conceptualizing Epistemic Oppression.Kristie Dotson - 2014 - Social Epistemology 28 (2):115-138.
Inductive risk and values in science.Heather Douglas - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):559-579.
On the epistemic costs of implicit bias.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (1):33-63.
Philosophy of Science After Feminism.Janet A. Kourany - 2010 - , US: Oxford University Press.
Why standpoint matters.Alison Wylie - 2003 - In Robert Figueroa & Sandra G. Harding (eds.), Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology. Routledge. pp. 26--48.

View all 18 references / Add more references