In this paper we argue for a naturalistic solution to some of the methodological controversies in regulatory science, on the basis of two case studies: toxicology and health claim regulation. We analyze the debates related to the scientific evidence that is considered necessary for regulatory decision making in each of those two fields, with a particular attention to the interactions between scientific and regulatory aspects. This analysis allows us to identify two general stances in the debate: a) one that argues for more permissive standards of evidence and for methodological pluralism, and b) an opposing one that not only defends strict evidence requirements but also stipulates the use of one particular scientific methodologies for data generation. We argue that the real-world outcomes produced by alternative regulatory options are a vital piece of information that allows for the empirical assessment of these two stances. In particular, this information on outcomes makes it possible to analyze which standards of evidence and scientific methods generate the most useful knowledge as input for regulatory decision making. Our conclusion is that instead of an a priori selection of methodologies and standards, such decisions ought to be based on empirical evidence related to real-world outcomes.
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DOI 10.1007/s13194-020-00340-7
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References found in this work BETA

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
Inductive Risk and Values in Science.Heather Douglas - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):559-579.

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Rationality in Context: Regulatory Science and the Best Scientific Method.José Luis Luján & Oliver Todt - 2022 - Science, Technology, and Human Values 47 (5):1086-1108.

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