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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 If We Are Uncertain?

What If We Are Uncertain?

(p.83) Chapter 5 What If We Are Uncertain?
A Tapestry of Values

Kevin C. Elliott

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the role of values in responding to scientific uncertainty. First, using the work of James Hansen as a case study, it shows how values are relevant to deciding how boldly to communicate socially relevant but uncertain information to the public. Second, it introduces the argument from inductive risk, according to which values have a role to play in choosing how much evidence to demand before drawing scientific conclusions. Third, it examines how values can contribute to scientific uncertainty, insofar as those with strong values that appear to conflict with a particular area of scientific research are often motivated to challenge that body of science in every way possible, including by “manufacturing uncertainty.”

Keywords:   inductive risk, Heather Douglas, James Hansen, clean-hands science, uncertainty, values and science, agnotology, manufactured uncertainty, science communication

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