Are Values in Science Like a Tapestry or a Patchwork Quilt?
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...
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Conflict of Interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.