Normative authority for empirical science

Philosophical Explorations 14 (3):263-275 (2011)
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In this article I explore the hypothesis of normative authority by epistemic authority. This is the idea that scientifically warranted claims in psychology, in being claims about human needs, interests, and concerns, can acquire authority on which values do or do not merit endorsement. The hypothesis is applied to attachment research: it seems that on the basis of what is now known about attachment, specific normative conclusions seem warranted. I argue that although attachment research and theory are value-laden, they are empirically quite solid, hence entitled to epistemic authority. Having established this, I explain how such epistemic authority carries over into normative authority



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