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Does the (apparently) Value-Laden Nature of Science give us Reason to Doubt the Objectivity and Reliability of Science?
Pages 4 (1004 words)
Philosophy of Science: Does the (apparently) value-laden nature of science give us reason to doubt the objectivity and reliability of science? In this essay I argue, presenting evidence from required reading, that science is indeed value-laden, which contrary to historically entrenched beliefs and expectations, serves to enhance the objectivity, reliability and validity of scientific enterprise.
In the paragraphs that follow I try to identify salient arguments put forward by leading scientists representative of the epistemology under review. Science may be defined as the human endeavour to explore, investigate and understand the physical universe. Scientific method used to gain knowledge of natural phenomena includes observation, forming hypotheses or theories, conducting experiments to test hypotheses, and drawing conclusions in accepting, modifying, or rejecting hypotheses. In antiquity, philosophy encompassed all knowledge. In modern times, science has become the repository of almost all knowledge, completely epistemic and objective. Physics, from Newton’s Laws, to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity led to many technological advances, and continues to be the paradigmatic science given exact mathematical expression. Until quite recently, scientists believed that they were engaging in a value-free, positivistic and Cartesian enterprise untainted by nonepistemic values. Gregory Mikkelson introduces the subject of ‘Values in Ecology’ by pointing to the historical link between modern science and colonialism, an unlikely outcome given the much vaunted scientific criterion of impartial objectivity. ...
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