Foundations of Science 22 (1):215-234 (2017)

The function and legitimacy of values in decision making is a critically important issue in the contemporary analysis of science. It is particularly relevant for some of the more application-oriented areas of science, specifically decision-oriented science in the field of regulation of technological risks. Our main objective in this paper is to assess the diversity of roles that non-cognitive values related to decision making can adopt in the kinds of scientific activity that underlie risk regulation. We start out, first, by analyzing the issue of values with the help of a framework taken from the wider philosophical debate on science and values. Second, we study the principal conceptualizations used by scholars who have applied them to numerous case studies. Third, we appraise the links between those conceptualizations and learning processes in decision-oriented science. In this, we recur to the concept of methodological learning, i.e., learning about the best methodologies for generating knowledge that is useful for science-based regulatory decisions. The main result of our analysis is that non-cognitive values can contribute to methodological improvements in science in three principal ways: as basis for critical analysis, for contextualizing methodologies, and for establishing the burden of proof.
Keywords Non-cognitive values  Cognitive values  Decision-oriented science  Methodological learning  Risk regulation
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DOI 10.1007/s10699-015-9482-3
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Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal.Heather Douglas - 2009 - University of Pittsburgh Press.
The Fate of Knowledge.Helen E. Longino - 2001 - Princeton University Press.

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