Science & Education

, Volume 26, Issue 7–9, pp 1063–1069 | Cite as

Are Values in Science Like a Tapestry or a Patchwork Quilt?

Kevin C. Elliott (2017) A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190260835, 320 pages. Price: $32.97 (paperback)
  • Erin J. NashEmail author
Book Review


Science is still commonly viewed as impartial, and free from the influence of moral, social, and political values (non-epistemic values, or simply “values” from this point forward) and, moreover, as an activity that should be this way. Richard Dawkins, for instance, characterizes science as the “…disinterested search for the objective truth about the material world” (quoted in Singh’s book Big Bang). Similarly, social scientist Gregory Mankiw, then Chair of Harvard University’s economics department, once said in a New York Times article that “like most economists”, he does not “view the study of economics as laden with ideology.”1Such statements from science’s titans have had an enormous influence on how scientists and laypersons alike perceive and understand science, and what it is that scientists do. But Dawkins and Mankiw are wrong: there are numerous roles that values can, do, and should play in scientific practices. Philosophers of science and science studies...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society, Department of PhilosophyDurham UniversityDurhamU.K.

Personalised recommendations