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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 highThe 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....

Title : Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal
Author :
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ISBN : 9780822960263
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal Reviews

  • Matt
    2019-05-09 07:03

    I've read this book several times since my initial rating, and I'm upping it to 5 stars because it really deserves it. The more I work with it, the more I think Heather's is one of the better and more important books in philosophy of science of the last 10 years. The inductive risk argument has, I think, overtaken the underdetermination argument in terms of the debate about values in science, and that's all due to Heather. I'd call this a must-read for anyone working on general epistemology of science or on interaction of science and policy. A few things to complain about, though. The chapter on the history of science policy is too dry and laundry-list based. Its main aim seems to be getting a bunch of information down in one place, and while this is admittedly useful in terms of reference, it is maybe just barely worth reading in the context of the book. It could have been made more interesting, done more analytically, or integrated more tightly into the book as a whole. Plus some really interesting and important parts of the story are left out, e.g., the NSF programs on "Interdisciplinary Research Relevant to Problems of Our Society" (IRRPOS) and "Research Applied to National Needs" (RANN).Another worry I have has to do with the historical story, especially the "Whatever happened to Rudner" question. Here's an excerpt from a blog Q&A Heather did for my graduate class in Fall '09:Q: Are there not more compelling arguments for the value-free ideal in light of Rudner’s arguments? As it stands, we had a hard time seeing the philosophical motivations for the eventual acceptance of the ideal in the mid-20th C.Heather Douglas: When I first began looking at this literature, I was really surprised at how weak the arguments for the value-free ideal were. Now, it might be that I missed something in the historical body of work from that period, and so I would love to hear about key aspects of arguments I just overlooked. There could also be arguments made for the value-free ideal that were not articulated at the time– perhaps about the need for similar standards across scientists to assist with the unity of science. Of course, Kuhn 1977 would make that sort of approach problematic. I have a hard time figuring out any purely philosophical motivations, so I would be open to the excavation of them.I'm still not happy, but I don't have an alternative answer, either!That's small potatoes, though. It's a fantastic book!---Acquired 8/24/09 - desk copy, w00t!This will be the main text for most of October in my grad seminar. I'm especially interested in the history of the Science Advisor. Also keen to get the whole story of C. West Churchman, Richard Rudner, etc. (which I've skimmed around in a bit already).