Colloquium in Savery Hall 264.
Non-Epistemic Values, Scientific Practice, and Democratic Legitimacy
Acting Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
University of Washington
One line of defense of a value free ideal for scientific practice suggests democratic societies have good moral and political reasons arising from reasonable pluralism to keep policy relevant scientific practice value-neutral (or neutral with regard to non-epistemic values, at least). I first flesh out this suggested political defense of a value-free ideal by tying it to Rawls's idea of public reason. I then look at two proposals for keeping scientific practice value-neutral and thereby in line with public reason. Next, I appeal to aims approaches that defend a role for non-epistemic values in scientific practice to show that these two proposals for keeping scientific practice value-neutral fail. In light of this failure, I draw upon criticisms of public reason from political philosophy and the theory of cultural cognition that parallel the arguments of aims approaches to suggest how value-laden scientific practice might respect democratic principles.
Since 2012, Paul Franco has been Acting Assistant Professor in Philosophy at the University of Washington teaching in the history of philosophy, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, and ethics. Paul's research in the history of philosophy looks at Kantian strands of 20th century analytic philosophy, and also at the relationship between ordinary language philosophy and mid-20th century philosophy of science. His related work in the philosophy of science looks at the role of the a priori in empirical knowledge, and also at non-epistemic values in scientific practice especially as such values inform scientific communication. Outside of academic philosophy, Paul volunteers editorial assistance to ARCADE, a non-profit dedicated to advancing dialogue about design, and feature edited ARCADE 33.2: Authenticity: Navigating the Real in Art, Design and Architecture.