The Influence of Values on Medical Research

In Alex Broadbent (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Medicine. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract

Mainstream views of medical research tell us it should be a fact-based, value-free endeavor: what a scientist (or her funding source) wants or cares about should not influence her findings. At the same time, we also sometimes criticize medical research for failing to embody certain values, e.g. when we criticize pharmaceutical companies for largely ignoring the diseases that affect the global poor. This chapter seeks to reconcile these perspectives by distinguishing appropriate from inappropriate influences of values on medical research. It divides this broad question into two narrower ones, the Role Question (at what points in the research process is value influence potentially acceptable?) and the Content Question (when value influence is potentially acceptable, what specific values should researchers use?), and then draws on the philosophical literature on values in science to explore answers to each of them.

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S. Andrew Schroeder
Claremont McKenna College

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The Scientist Qua Scientist Makes Value Judgments.Richard Rudner - 1953 - Philosophy of Science 20 (1):1-6.
The new demarcation problem.Bennett Holman & Torsten Wilholt - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 91 (C):211-220.
In defence of the value free ideal.Gregor Betz - 2013 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (2):207-220.
Democratic Values: A Better Foundation for Public Trust in Science.S. Andrew Schroeder - 2021 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 72 (2):545-562.

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