Uwe Peters
Universität Bonn
In the philosophy of science, it is a common proposal that values are illegitimate in science and should be counteracted whenever they drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions. Drawing on recent cognitive scientific research on human reasoning and confirmation bias, I argue that this view should be rejected. Advocates of it have overlooked that values that drive inquiry to the confirmation of predetermined conclusions can contribute to the reliability of scientific inquiry at the group level even when they negatively affect an individual’s cognition. This casts doubt on the proposal that such values should always be illegitimate in science. It also suggests that advocates of that proposal assume a narrow, individualistic account of science that threatens to undermine their own project of ensuring reliable belief formation in science.
Keywords confirmation bias  values in science  Mandevillian cognition
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/bjps/axy079
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Thinking, Fast and Slow.Daniel Kahneman - 2011 - New York: New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Enigma of Reason.Dan Sperber & Hugo Mercier (eds.) - 2017 - Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.

View all 56 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

What Is the Function of Confirmation Bias?Uwe Peters - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1351-1376.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Bayesian Confirmation: A Means with No End.Peter Brössel & Franz Huber - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):737-749.
A New Direction for Science and Values.Daniel J. Hicks - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3271-95.
Distinguishing Between Legitimate and Illegitimate Values in Climate Modeling.Kristen Intemann - 2015 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 5 (2):217-232.
From Relative Confirmation to Real Confirmation.Aron Edidin - 1988 - Philosophy of Science 55 (2):265-271.
Bias and Values in Scientific Research.Torsten Wilholt - 2009 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 40 (1):92-101.
Choosing Between Confirmation Theories.R. G. Swinburne - 1970 - Philosophy of Science 37 (4):602-613.
Confirmation Theory and Confirmation Logic.Chao-Tien Lin - 1988 - Dissertation, The University of British Columbia (Canada)
Models and Inferences in Science.Richard Dawid - 2016 - In Emiliano Ippoliti, Thomas Nickles & Fabio Sterpetti (eds.), Models and Inferences in Science. Springer. pp. 191-205.


Added to PP index

Total views
1,190 ( #4,835 of 2,507,021 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
157 ( #3,918 of 2,507,021 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes