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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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How Should We Talk about It?

How Should We Talk about It?

(p.111) Chapter 6 How Should We Talk about It?
A Tapestry of Values

Kevin C. Elliott

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses three major ways in which values influence scientific language. First, it uses a case study of genetic factors that influence the sexual behavior of voles in order to highlight the significance of framing effects on science communication. Second, it examines descriptions of invasive species and a number of other cases to show how scientific terminology and metaphors draw social values into science. Third, using research on racial differences in intelligence, it shows how ethical and social values are relevant to evaluating the categories used by the scientific and medical communities. The chapter argues that it is often unrealistic to try to find scientific language that is entirely value-neutral. Instead, it argues that scientists should strive to become more aware of the value-laden aspects of their choices, foster critical analysis of language choices, and take steps to acknowledge the assumptions and weaknesses associated with their choices.

Keywords:   backtracking, framing, metaphor, terminology, categories, science communication, invasive species, scientific language, values and science

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