Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal

by Heather Douglas
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0822960265

ISBN-13: 9780822960263

Pub. Date: 09/03/2009

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press

The role of science in policymaking has gained unprecedented stature in the United States, raising questions about the place of science and scientific expertise in the democratic process. Some scientists have been given considerable epistemic authority in shaping policy on issues of great moral and cultural significance, and the politicizing of these issues has

Overview

The role of science in policymaking has gained unprecedented stature in the United States, raising questions about the place of science and scientific expertise in the democratic process. Some scientists have been given considerable epistemic authority in shaping policy on issues of great moral and cultural significance, and the politicizing of these issues has become highly contentious.

Since World War II, most philosophers of science have purported the concept that science should be “value-free.” In Science, Policy and the Value-Free Ideal, Heather E. Douglas argues that such an ideal is neither adequate nor desirable for science.  She contends that the moral responsibilities of scientists require the consideration of values even at the heart of science. She lobbies for a new ideal in which values serve an essential function throughout scientific inquiry, but where the role values play is constrained at key points, thus protecting the integrity and objectivity of science. In this vein, Douglas outlines a system for the application of values to guide scientists through points of uncertainty fraught with moral valence.

Following a philosophical analysis of the historical background of science advising and the value-free ideal, Douglas defines how values should-and should not-function in science.  She discusses the distinctive direct and indirect roles for values in reasoning, and outlines seven senses of objectivity, showing how each can be employed to determine the reliability of scientific claims.  Douglas then uses these philosophical insights to clarify the distinction between junk science and sound science to be used in policymaking. In conclusion, she calls for greater openness on the values utilized in policymaking, and more public participation in the policymaking process, by suggesting various models for effective use of both the public and experts in key risk assessments.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822960263
Publisher:
University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date:
09/03/2009
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
740,307
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations vii

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Introduction: Science Wars and Policy Wars 1

Chapter 2 The Rise of the Science Advisor 23

Chapter 3 Origins of the Value-Free Ideal for Science 44

Chapter 4 The Moral Responsibilities of Scientists 66

Chapter 5 The Structure of Values in Science 87

Chapter 6 Objectivity in Science 115

Chapter 7 The Integrity of Science in the Policy Process 133

Chapter 8 Values and Practices 156

Epilogue 175

Notes 179

References 193

Index 205

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