Steele, Katie Siobhan. The Scientist qua Policy Advisor Makes Value Judgments
2012, Philosophy of Science, 79(5): 893-904
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Johanna Thoma
Richard Rudner famously argues that the communication of scientific advice to policy makers involves ethical value judgments. His argument has, however, been rightly criticized. This article revives Rudner’s conclusion, by strengthening both his lines of argument: we generalize his initial assumption regarding the form in which scientists must communicate their results and complete his ‘backup’ argument by appealing to the difference between private and public decisions. Our conclusion that science advisors must, for deep-seated pragmatic reasons, make value judgments is further bolstered by reflections on how the scientific contribution to policy is far less straightforward than the Rudner-style model suggests.
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Comment: A major contribution to the values in science debate, focusing in particular on the role of scientists as policy advisers. The text is accessible for advanced students and can be used as the central text for a session on values in science in a philosophy of science course, or a more specialised course on related topics.