Synthese

, Volume 192, Issue 1, pp 79–96 | Cite as

Inductive risk and the contexts of communication

Article

Abstract

In recent years, the argument from inductive risk against value free science has enjoyed a revival. This paper investigates and clarifies this argument through means of a case-study: neonicitinoid research. Sect. 1 argues that the argument from inductive risk is best conceptualised as a claim about scientists’ communicative obligations. Sect. 2 then shows why this argument is inapplicable to “public communication”. Sect. 3 outlines non-epistemic reasons why non-epistemic values should not play a role in public communicative contexts. Sect. 4 analyses the implications of these arguments both for the specific case of neonicitinoid research and for understanding the limits of the argument from inductive risk. Sect. 5 sketches the broader implications of my claims for understanding the “Value Free Ideal” for science.

Keywords

Inductive risk Values in science Social epistemology Neonicitinoid research Public/private distinction Communicative obligations 

References

  1. Betz, G. (2013). In defence of the value free ideal. European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 3, 207–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Biddle, J., & Winsberg, E. (2010). Value judgements and the estimation of uncertainty in climate modelling. In J. Busch & P. D. Magnus (Eds.), New waves in philosophy of science (pp. 127–197). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. Carrington, D. (2013). Bee-harming pesticides banned in Europe. The Guardian Mon, 29th April, 2013, at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe (Accessed 15th March 2014)
  4. Craig, E. (1999). Knowledge and the state of nature. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Desneux, N., Decourtye, A., & Delpuech, J. M. (2007). The sublethal effects of pesticides on beneficial arthropods. Annual Review of Entomology, 52, 81–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DEFRA. (2013). An assessment of key evidence about neonicotinoids and bees. London: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.Google Scholar
  7. Douglas, H. E. (2009). Science, policy, and the value-free ideal. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  8. Douglas, H. E. (2012). Book review of Kevin Elliott, Is a little pollution good for you? Philosophy of Science, 79(3), 425–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. EFSA Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR). (2012). Scientific opinion of the panel on plant protection products and their residues on a request from the European commission on the science behind the development of a risk assessment of plant protection products on bees ( Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees). The EFSA Journal, 10(5), 2668.Google Scholar
  10. EFSA. (2013a). Press release: EFSA identifies risks to bees from neonicitinoids available at www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/130116.htm.
  11. EFSA. (2013b). Guidance on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees ( Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees). EFSA Journal, 11(7), 3295.Google Scholar
  12. Elliott, K. (2011). Direct and indirect roles for values in science. Philosophy of Science, 78(2), 303–324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elliott, K. (2013). Douglas on values: From indirect roles to multiple goals. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 44, 375–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elliott, K., & McKaughan, D. (2014). Nonepistemic values and the multiple goals of science. Philosophy of Science, 81(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Enoch, D., Fisher, T., & Spectre, L. (2012). Statistical evidence, sensitivity and the legal value of knowledge. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 40(3), 197–224.Google Scholar
  16. Fantl, J., & McGrath, M. (2010). Knowledge in an uncertain world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gaa, J. (1977). Moral autonomy and the rationality of science. Philosophy of Science, 44(4), 513–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerken, M. (2012). On the cognitive basis of knowledge ascriptions. In M. Gerken & J. Brown (Eds.), Knowledge-ascriptions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Grice, P. (1975). Logic and conversation. In C. Peter & M. Jerry (Eds.), Sntax and semantics 3: Speech acts (pp. 41–58). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Henderson, D. (2011). Gate-keeping contextualism. Episteme, 8(1), 83–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Henry, M., Béguin, M., Requier, F., Rollin, O., Odoux, J.-F., Aupinel, P., et al. (2012). A Common pesticide decreases foraging success and survival in honey bees. Science, 336(6079), 348–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hempel, C. G. (1965). Science and human values. In his Aspects of scientific explanation (pp 81–96). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Howard-Snyder, F. (1997). The rejection of objective consequentialism. Utilitas, 9(02), 241–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jeffrey, R. (1956). Valuation and acceptance of scientific hypotheses. Philosophy of Science, 23(3), 237–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. John, S. (2010). In defence of bad science and irrational policies: An alternative account of the precautionary principle. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 13(1), 3–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. John, S. (2011). Expert testimony and epistemological free-riding. The Philosophical Quarterly, 61(244), 496–517.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. John, S. (Forthcoming). The example of the IPCC does not vindicate the value free ideal: A reply to Gregor Betz forthcoming in European. Journal for Philosophy of Science.Google Scholar
  28. Kant, I. (1970). What is enlightenment? In H. Reiss (Ed.), Kant’s political writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Kitcher, P. (2011). Science in a democratic society. New York: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  30. Kukla, R. (2012). Author TBD: Radical collaboration in contemporary biomedical research. Philosophy of Science, 79(5), 845–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Levi, I. (1960). Must the scientist make value judgments? The Journal of Philosophy, 57(11), 345–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lipton, P. (2004). Inference to the best explanation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Nickel, P. J. (2011). Testimonial entitlement, norms of assertion and privacy. Episteme, 10(02), 207–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. O’Neill, O. (1986). The public use of reason. Political Theory, 14(4), 523–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rawls, J. (1993). Political liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Rudner, R. (1953). The scientist qua scientist makes value judgments. Philosophy of Science, 20(1), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saul, J. (2013). Lying, misleading, and the role of what is said. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Steel, D. (2010). Epistemic values and the argument from inductive isk. Philosophy of Science, 77(1), 14–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Steel, D., & Whyte, K. P. (2012). Environmental justice, values, and scientific expertise. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 22, 163–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Steele, K. (2012). The scientist qua policy advisor makes value judgments. Philosophy of Science, 79(5), 893–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stokstad, E. (2012). Field research on bees raises concern about low dose pesticides. Science, 335(6078), 1555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sunstein, C. R. (2005). Laws of fear: Beyond the precautionary principle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Trouwborst, A. (2002). Evolution and status of the precautionary principle in international law. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.Google Scholar
  44. Whitehorn, P., O’Connor, S., Wackers, F., & Goulson, D. (2012). Neonicotinoid pesticide reduces bumble bee colony growth and queen production. Science, 336(6079), 351–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilholt, T. (2013). Epistemic trust in science. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 64(2), 233–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ziliak, S., & McCloskey, D. (2007). The Cult of statistical significance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations