Bias and values in scientific research

Torsten Wilholt
Universität Hannover
When interests and preferences of researchers or their sponsors cause bias in experimental design, data interpretation or dissemination of research results, we normally think of it as an epistemic shortcoming. But as a result of the debate on science and values, the idea that all extra-scientific influences on research could be singled out and separated from pure science is now widely believed to be an illusion. I argue that nonetheless, there are cases in which research is rightfully regarded as epistemologically deficient due to the influence of preferences on its outcomes. I present examples from biomedical research and offer an analysis in terms of social epistemology.
Keywords science and values  bias  social epistemology
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Reprint years 2009
DOI 10.1016/j.shpsa.2008.12.005
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References found in this work BETA

Inductive Risk and Values in Science.Heather Douglas - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):559-579.
Values in Science.Ernan McMullin - 2012 - Zygon 47 (4):686-709.
The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.

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Citations of this work BETA

In Defence of the Value Free Ideal.Gregor Betz - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):207-220.
Epistemic Trust in Science.Torsten Wilholt - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (2):233-253.
State of the Field: Transient Underdetermination and Values in Science.Justin Biddle - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (1):124-133.
Douglas on Values: From Indirect Roles to Multiple Goals.Kevin C. Elliott - 2013 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):375-383.

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