Democratic Values: A Better Foundation for Public Trust in Science

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):545-562 (2021)
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Abstract

There is a growing consensus among philosophers of science that core parts of the scientific process involve non-epistemic values. This undermines the traditional foundation for public trust in science. In this article I consider two proposals for justifying public trust in value-laden science. According to the first, scientists can promote trust by being transparent about their value choices. On the second, trust requires that the values of a scientist align with the values of an individual member of the public. I argue that neither of these proposals work and suggest an alternative that does better. When scientists must appeal to values in the course of their research, they should appeal to democratic values: the values of the public or its representatives.

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S. Andrew Schroeder
Claremont McKenna College

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