Exploring the role of values in scientific inquiry, Hugh Lacey examines the nature and meaning of values, and looks at challenges to the view, posed by postmodernists, feminists, radical ecologists, Third-World advocates and religious fundamentalists, that science is value free. He also focuses on discussions of 'development', especially in Third World countries. This paperback edition includes a new preface.
This book offers an account of how values play an important role within scientific practices, and how this account illuminates many ethical issues that arise concerning scientific practices and applications.
This article responds to Janet Kourany’s proposal, in Philosophy of Science after Feminism, that scientific practices be held to the ideal of ‘socially responsible science’, to produce results that are not only cognitively sound, but also significant in the light of values ‘that can be morally justified’. Kourany also urges the development of ‘contextualized philosophy of science’—of which feminist philosophy of science is exemplary—that is ‘politically engaged’ and ‘activist’, ‘informed by analyses of the actual ways in which science interacts with (...) the wider society in which it occurs, the ways in which science is shaped by and in turn shapes society’, and that can contribute to understanding both the cognitive and social dimensions of science. Although I share Kourany’s commitment to contextualized philosophy of science, I question her proposed ideal of ‘socially responsible science’ and the grounds she provides for adopting it. My argument leads me to defend rehabilitating the traditional ideal of the ‘neutrality’ of science, which I reinterpret as the ideal of ‘inclusiveness and evenhandedness’. (shrink)
The central question addressed is: How should scientific research be conducted so as to ensure that nature is respected and the well being of everyone everywhere enhanced? After pointing to the importance of methodological pluralism for an acceptable answer and to obstacles posed by characterizing scientific methodology too narrowly, which are reinforced by the ‘commercial-scientific ethos’, two additional questions are considered: How might research, conducted in this way, have impact on—and depend on—strengthening democratic values and practices? And: What is thereby (...) implied for the responsibilities of scientists today? (shrink)
I consider the questions, central to recent disagreements between Longino and Kitcher: Is it constitutive of making judgments of the cognitive acceptability of theories that they be made under certain social relations (that embody specific social values) that have been cultivated among investigators (Longino)? Or is making them (sound ones) just a consequence of social interactions that occur under these relations (Kitcher)? While generally endorsing the latter view, I make a distinction, not made by Longino, between sound acceptance and endorsement (...) of a theory, and argue that her view applies to endorsement. (shrink)
Cognitive values are the characteristics that are constitutive of good theories, the criteria to which we appeal when choosing among competing theories. I argue that, in order to count as a cognitive value, a characteristic must be needed to explain actually made theory choices, and its cognitive significance must be well defended especially in view of considerations derived from the objective of science. A number of proposed objectives of science are entertained, and it is argued that adopting a par-ticular objective (...) is dialectically intertwined with commitment to certain social values.Then, the ways in which science is, and is not value free is explored briefly, leading to the identification of a level of analysis where values may influence theory choice without causing paradox or threatening the impartiality of soundly-made scientific judgments. (shrink)
Technoscientific research, a kind of scientific research conducted within the decontextualized approach (DA), uses advanced technology to produce instruments, experimental objects, and new objects and structures, that enable us to gain knowledge of states of affairs of novel domains, especially knowledge about new possibilities of what we can do and make, with the horizons of practical, industrial, medical or military innovation, and economic growth and competition, never far removed from view. The legitimacy of technoscientific innovations can be appraised only in (...) the course of considering fully what sorts of objects technoscientific objects are: objects that embody scientific knowledge confirmed within DA; physical/chemical/biological objects, realizations of possibilities discovered in research conducted within DA, brought to realization by means of technical/experimental/instrumental interventions; and components of social/ecological systems, objects that embody the values of technological progress and (most of them) values of capital and the market. What technoscientific objects are - their powers, tendencies, sources of their being, effects on human beings and social/economic systems, how they differ from non technoscientific objects - cannot be grasped from technoscientific inquiry alone; scientific inquiry that is not reducible to that conducted within DA is also needed. The knowledge that underlies and explains the efficacy of technoscientific objects is never sufficient to grasp what sorts of object they are and could become. Science cannot be reduced to technoscience. (shrink)
In the current controversy about the value of transgenic crops, matters open to empirical inquiry are centrally at issue. One such matter is a key premise in a common argument (that I summarize) that transgenic crops should be considered to have universal value. The premise is that there are no alternative forms of agriculture available to enable the production of sufficient food to feed the world. The proponents of agroecology challenge it, claiming that agroecology provides an alternative, and they deny (...) the claim that it is well founded on empirical evidence. It is, therefore, a matter of both social and scientific importance that this premise and the criticisms of it be investigated rigorously and empirically, so that the benefits and disadvantages of transgenic-intensive agriculture and agroecology can be compared in a reliable way. Conducting adequate investigation about the potential contribution of agroecology requires that the cultural conditions of its practice (and, thus, of the practices and movements of small-scale farmers in the “third world”) be strengthened—and this puts the interests of investigation into tension with the socio-economic interests driving the development of transgenics. General issues about relationship between ethical argument and empirical (scientific) investigation are raised throughout the article. (shrink)
I distinguish three matters about which decisions have to be made in scientific activities: (1) adoption of strategy; (2) acceptance of data, hypotheses, and theories; and (3) application of scientific knowledge. I argue that, contrary to the common view that only concerning (3) do values have a legitimate role, value judgments often play indispensable roles in connection with decisions concerning (1)—that certain values may not only be furthered by applications of the scientific knowledge gained under a strategy, but they may (...) also provide a primary reason for conducting research under the strategy. However, this is compatible with making decisions concerning (2) that in no way draw upon values. While, in my opinion, this account applies to all the sciences, it has special salience in the behavioral and cognitive sciences. The behavioral scientist, qua scientist, makes value judgments when making decisions about which strategy to adopt, but not when deciding which theories to accept as providing knowledge and understanding of specified domains of phenomena. (shrink)
It has been proposed that the policies and practices of food sovereignty, unlike those of today's hegemonic food/agricultural system, provide the means for satisfying and safeguarding the right to food security for everyone everywhere. My principal objective in this article, which gains its significance in the light of an explanatory critique of the current system, is to explore how scientific research — using what kinds of methodologies, and building on experiences of what and of whom? — can constructively inform these (...) practices and policies, and contribute towards appraising this proposal. (shrink)
After precisely specifying the thesis of the causal theory of time, Grünbaum's program developed to support this thesis is examined. Four objections to his definition of temporal order in terms of a more primitive causal relation are put and held to be conclusive. Finally, the philosophical arguments that Grünbaum has proposed supporting the desirability of establishing a causal theory of time are shown to be either invalid or inconclusive.
Suppose that one accepts a theory that proposes that a certain group’s holding of a false belief is co-caused by a specified social structure. Then, Bhaskar has argued, one is rationally committed, ceteris paribus, to adopting a negative value judgment of that structure and a positive value judgment of activity directed towards removing it . Contrary to Bhaskar, I argue that any rational move from accepting a theory to value judgments is mediated either by further value judgments, or by the (...) role played by value-impregnated theoretical terms. Furthermore, I argue , Bhaskar’s argument tends not to be applicable in the case of theories that assign certain kinds of causal roles to social structures. Reflection on Bhaskar’s argument, however, leads to a deeper grasp of the relations between accepting theories in the social sciences and adopting value judgments. (shrink)
Teleological behaviorism, unlike Skinnerian behaviorism, recognizes that are needed to account adequately for human behavior, but it rejects the essential role in behavioral explanations of the subjective perspective of the agent. I argue that teleological behaviorism fails because of this rejection.
Modern science, whose methodologies give special privilege to using decontextualizing strategies and downplay the role of context-sensitive strategies, have been extraordinarily successful in producing knowledge whose applications have transformed the shape of the lifeworld. Nevertheless, I argue that how the mainstream of the modern scientific tradition interprets the nature and objectives of science is incoherent; and that today there are two competing interpretations of scientific activities that are coherent and that maintain continuity with the success of the tradition: "commercially-oriented technoscience" (...) and "multi-strategy research" . The greater part of this article is devoted to discussing what is involved in MS, by pointing to its positive research program in three areas , and its critical stance towards the innovations of CT, especially insofar as it makes use of the Precautionary Principle. In this way important dimensions of the agenda of science and technology for social justice, democratic participation and sustainability become clear. (shrink)
In this paper I will propose six principles governing the proper role of moral and social values in the conduct of scientific investigation. I offer them for your consideration, and hope that together we can sharpen their formulation, explore their implications and test their acceptability. In making my proposals I draw considerably from my recent books, Valores e Atividade Científica and Is Science Value Free? Values and Scientific Understanding. The detailed argument, and elaboration of the technical notions that I use (...) are to be found in them. The sketch of the argument that I offer here is intended to display the motivation behind the proposed principles. (shrink)
This commentary discusses critically the proposal of Foxall's intentional behaviorism that, when the use of intentional categories can be justifiably portrayed as heuristic overlay to theories incorporating radical behaviorist principles, intentionality may be part of behaviorist interpretations of behavior that occurs outside of the controlled conditions of the laboratory and practical behavioral interventions. I sketch an argument that typical uses of intentional categories for the explanation of human agency (e.g., its exercise in conducting scientific research) are not properly grasped as (...) being such heuristic overlay and so are not illuminated by behaviorist interpretations. (shrink)
Their initial assumption, however, is mistaken. Augustine's worries were not linguistic ones, although to be fair to the recent critics his worries were exacerbated by some linguistic muddles. He knew perfectly well that he had no trouble talking about time. This he accepted as a fact. His problem was that, although he used temporal terms correctly very easily, he did not know to what they referred. He wanted to know whether time is a feature of the objective physical world, or (...) whether time is a subjective phenomenon; whether temporal relations are relations among physical events, or relations among private, mental events. Ordinary usage did not supply answers to these questions. Indeed, correct ordinary usage is compatible with temporal terms sometimes referring to features of the physical world, sometimes to subjective phenomena. He also wanted to know whether temporal discourse requires reference to specifically temporal entities, i.e., entities or moments which exist independently of things, or whether time is adequately accounted for in terms of the temporal relations among events; whether the measurement of time depends upon the measurement of specifically temporal objects, or whether it is accounted for in terms of features of physical processes. In the course of his inquiry Augustine repeatedly expressed bewilderment. This bewilderment is due not to his being unable to find other words to do the job of "time," but to the fact that the answers do not readily emerge from ordinary ways of talking about "time.". (shrink)
Rachlin shows that experiments about social cooperation may fruitfully be grouped with experiments on self-control, and that this suggests interesting possibilities for practical behavioral controls. The concepts of selfishness and altruism, however, that inform his theorizing about these experiments, do not serve to provide understanding of the behavior that commonly is referred to, derogatorily, as selfish.
A reasonable choice between Skinner's and Chomsky's theories requires reference to a conception of human nature. It is explained in detail why this is so, in the context of an analysis of what it is to ‘choose’ a theory. This account helps to explain the unity and coherence of the science, methodology, conception of science, object of scientific inquiry and views towards control of each of Skinner and Chomsky, and thereby explains the chasm which separates the parties to their respective (...) programs. The analysis given implies that, in a precise sense, the theory-choice is implicated in value-judgments. (shrink)