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Wendy Parker (Durham), “Scientific Modelling and Limits to the Value-Free Ideal”

10 October 2016 @ 5:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Abstract. According to the value-free ideal, the internal workings of science, including the evaluation of evidence, should be kept free from the influence of non-epistemic values as much as possible. We identify an underappreciated limit on the extent to which the value-free ideal can be achieved in practice. Our argument – which differs from inductive risk and other recent arguments – is grounded in the fact that, in some fields, scientists use complex scientific models as a replacement for background information in Bayesian and other methodologies that assign probabilities to hypotheses in light of evidence. We explain how this practice gives rise to conclusions that are influenced by non-epistemic values, and we consider the nature of the bias that it introduces. [This is joint work with Eric Winsberg.]

Wendy Parker is a Reader in Philosophy at Durham University.


10 October 2016
5:15 pm - 6:45 pm
Event Category:


Bryan W. Roberts


LAK 2.06, The Lakatos Building
London School of Economics
London,WC2A 2AEUnited Kingdom
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The BSPS Ordinary Meetings and Lectures are held on the 2nd floor of the Lakatos Building (LAK) at the London School of Economics, which is an accessible building with stair-free access. See the LSE Accessibility Map for more information about accessibility at the School more generally.