Thinking about Values in Science: Ethical versus Political Approaches

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (3):246-255 (2022)
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Philosophers of science now broadly agree that doing good science involves making non-epistemic value judgments. I call attention to two very different normative standards which can be used to evaluate such judgments: standards grounded in ethics and standards grounded in political philosophy. Though this distinction has not previously been highlighted, I show that the values in science literature contain arguments of each type. I conclude by explaining why this distinction is important. Seeking to determine whether some value-laden determination meets substantive ethical standards is a very different endeavor from seeking to determine if it is politically legitimate.

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S. Andrew Schroeder
Claremont McKenna College


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