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A Tapestry of ValuesAn Introduction to Values in Science$
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Kevin C. Elliott

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190260804

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190260804.001.0001

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What Should We Study?

What Should We Study?

(p.19) Chapter 2 What Should We Study?
A Tapestry of Values

Kevin C. Elliott

Oxford University Press

While it is relatively uncontroversial that values have a legitimate role to play in choosing research topics, this chapter argues that there are still important questions about how to prioritize research, what role Congress should play in making decisions about federally funded research, and how to influence privately funded research so it serves our ethical and social ideals. First, building on Lawrence Summers’s famous remarks about women’s scientific abilities, the chapter examines whether research into gender- or race-based differences in cognitive abilities should be discouraged. Second, it explores recent debates about the role that Congress should play in making funding decisions at the National Science Foundation. Third, it discusses the tendency for privately funded medical research to slight the needs of those in low-income countries. It introduces Julian Reiss and Philip Kitcher’s concept of the “fair-share” principle and suggests strategies for moving medical research closer to that ideal.

Keywords:   Lawrence Summers, National Science Foundation, science policy, science funding, cognitive abilities, fair-share principle, malaria, values and science

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