Uses of Value Judgments in Science: A General Argument, with Lessons from a Case Study of Feminist Research on Divorce

Authors

  • ELIZABETH ANDERSON


Abstract

The underdetermination argument establishes that scientists may use political values to guide inquiry, without providing criteria for distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate guidance. This paper supplies such criteria. Analysis of the confused arguments against value-laden science reveals the fundamental criterion of illegitimate guidance: when value judgments operate to drive inquiry to a predetermined conclusion. A case study of feminist research on divorce reveals numerous legitimate ways that values can guide science without violating this standard.

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