Science, Knowledge, and Values

Fall 2016

Professor: P.D. Magnus

A traditional conception of scientific objectivity has held that science should be value-free, that the answers it provides should depend only on the facts. A further traditional conception has held that factual findings can't themselves yield normative conclusions; in short, that is can't imply ought. On examination, however, the value-free conception of science is untenable --- at least in its traditional form. Where does that leave science and knowledge? The course will look approach these issues by looking at recent debates in philosophy of science, through the works of authors such as Hilary Putnam, Philip Kitcher, and Heather Douglas.