The importance of science for guiding policy decisions has been an increasingly central feature of policy-making for much of the past century. But which science we have available to us and what counts as adequate science for policy-making shapes substantially the specific impact science has on policy decisions. Policy influences which science we pursue and how we pursue it in practice, as well as how science ultimately informs policy. Values inform our choices in these areas, as values shape the research agendas scientists pursue, the issues debated as we decide on policy, and what counts as sufficient warrant in any given case. And what we value is shaped by our empirical understanding of what is, what is possible, and what is feasible. The interrelationships between values (what we care about), policy (how our institutions and practices are structured), and science (our best source of empirical knowledge) requires careful philosophical attention....
Science, Policy, Values: Exploring the Nexus
My thanks to Rachel Ankeny and the SPSP 2013 organizing committee for inviting me to put together the workshop that led to this collection of papers. The assistance of the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto (especially Muna Salloum, Marga Vicedo, and Denis Walsh) and of Vicki Brett at the University of Waterloo was essential for making the workshop run properly. Thanks as well to the additional speakers who contributed so much to the discussion (Sergio Sismondo, Kieran O’Doherty, and Marc Saner) and to the 70 attendees who made it a vibrant day. Thanks to the anonymous peer reviewers who helped strengthen each of the papers, to Dylon McChesney for his invaluable editorial assistance, and to Ted Richards for his ongoing support. Finally, thanks to the authors for their hard work, perseverance, and insight. My hope is that this collection will spur greater engagement with the normatively complex terrain where science, policy, and values meet.
Heather E. Douglas; Science, Policy, Values: Exploring the Nexus. Perspectives on Science 2016; 24 (5): 475–480. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/POSC_e_00219
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