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Out from the ShadowsAnalytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy$
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Sharon L. Crasnow and Anita M. Superson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199855469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199855469.001.0001

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Uses of Value Judgments in Science

Uses of Value Judgments in Science

A General Argument, with Lessons from a Case Study of Feminist Research on Divorce

Chapter:
(p.377) 14 Uses of Value Judgments in Science
Source:
Out from the Shadows
Author(s):

Elizabeth Anderson

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199855469.003.0015

This essay critically examines the thesis that social science is value–neutral–that is, that it neither presupposes nor supports any nonepistemic (social, political, moral) value judgments. I argue that the standard arguments for value-neutrality are contradictory. Their real concern is not that scientific theories might have evaluative content, but that they might be held dogmatically. I demonstrate, through a detailed examination of a case study of feminist research on divorce, how to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate (dogmatic) uses of value judgments in science, and more from less epistemically fruitful values. I also argue that there is empirical evidence for value judgments, which lies in our emotional experiences to things in the world.

Keywords:   value neutrality, emotions, Weber, Max, divorce, social science, values, dogmatism, feminist science

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