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Séminaire général

Why Worry about Contextual Values in Science?

Intervention de Inmaculada de Melo Martín (Professeure d'éthique médicale, Weill Cornell Medicine, Université de Cornell)

Philosophers of science have come to accept that contextual values can play unavoidable and desirable roles in science. This has raised concerns about the need to distinguish legitimate and illegitimate value influences in scientific inquiry. I discuss here four such concerns: about epistemic distortion, value imposition, undermining of public trust in science, and the use of objectionable values. I contend that preserving epistemic integrity and ensuring properly chosen values provide good reasons to attempt to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate influences of values in science. However, the trust and the objectionable values concerns constitute no good reason for demarcation criteria. Distinguishing among these concerns is important both because the reasons for the concerns are different and because they require different strategies to address them. Moreover, for some of the concerns the distinction between legitimate and illegitimate values is unhelpful.