The seminar will deal with the influence of values on scientific knowledge and its consequences for scientific objectivity. It is a common conviction that in order for science to be objective, values must not influence the choice of theories. Value-freedom in this respect guards, so the conviction, scientific knowledge against the biased influence of dominant worldviews, interests of certain groups or individual preferences of researchers. However, there are not only many examples of values affecting theory choice but also philosophical arguments backing their influence. Therefore, many philosophers of science meanwhile accept that values inevitably affect theory choice and that their influence is even legitimate. The question that arises then is whether scientific objectivity is still possible and if so, how. The social organisation of science as well as its relation to society are fruitful sources for such reflections.
In the first part of the seminar, we will have a look at possible entry points for values in theory choice. In the second part of the seminar we will examine different proposals how to maintain scientific objectivity given value influence. In the third part, we explore how such considerations might affect scientific practice and science policy.
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