Explanatory Judgment, Moral Offense and Value-Free Science

Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):743-763 (2016)
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Abstract

A popular view in philosophy of science contends that scientific reasoning is objective to the extent that the appraisal of scientific hypotheses is not influenced by moral, political, economic, or social values, but only by the available evidence. A large body of results in the psychology of motivated-reasoning has put pressure on the empirical adequacy of this view. The present study extends this body of results by providing direct evidence that the moral offensiveness of a scientific hypothesis biases explanatory judgment along several dimensions, even when prior credence in the hypothesis is controlled for. Furthermore, it is shown that this bias is insensitive to an economic incentive to be accurate in the evaluation of the evidence. These results contribute to call into question the attainability of the ideal of a value-free science.

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Matteo Colombo
Tilburg University

Citations of this work

On value-laden science.Zina B. Ward - 2021 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 85:54-62.
Reports of the Death of Value-Free Science Are Greatly Exaggerated.Josef Mattes - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):689-699.
Reports of the Death of Value-Free Science Are Greatly Exaggerated.Josef Mattes - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (4):689-699.

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