Values, bias and replicability

Synthese 203 (164):1-25 (2024)
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Abstract

The Value-free ideal of science (VFI) is a view that claims that scientists should not use non-epistemic values when they are justifying their hypotheses, and is widely considered to be obsolete in the philosophy of science. I will defend the ideal by demonstrating that acceptance of non-epistemic values, prohibited by VFI, necessitates legitimizing certain problematic scientific practices. Such practices, including biased methodological decisions or Questionable Research Practices (QRP), significantly contribute to the Replication Crisis. I will argue that the realizability of VFI is not a necessary condition for its validity. Then, I will show how some of the prominent proposals of value-laden science legitimize problematic scientific practices, provide real-world examples, and generalize the argument. Finally, I will show how value-laden methodological decisions contribute to the Replicability Crisis and discuss two strategies for realizing VFI.

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Michał Sikorski
Marche Polytechnic University

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