Science, values, and pragmatic encroachment on knowledge

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Philosophers have recently argued, against a prevailing orthodoxy, that standards of knowledge partly depend on a subject’s interests; the more is at stake for the subject, the less she is in a position to know. This view, which is dubbed “Pragmatic Encroachment” has historical and conceptual connections to arguments in philosophy of science against the received model of science as value free. I bring the two debates together. I argue that Pragmatic Encroachment and the model of value-laden science reinforce each other. Drawing on Douglas’ argument about the indispensability of value judgments in science, and psychological evidence about people’s inability to objectively reason about what they care about, I introduce a novel argument for Pragmatic Encroachment.
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First archival date: 2014-03-16
Latest version: 3 (2014-03-17)
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