1st Edition

Is Science Value Free? Values and Scientific Understanding

By Hugh Lacey Copyright 1999
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    300 Pages
    by Routledge

    Exploring the role of values in scientific inquiry, Hugh Lacey examines the nature and meaning of values, and looks at challenges to the view, posed by postmodernists, feminists, radical ecologists, Third-World advocates and religious fundamentalists, that science is value free. He also focuses on discussions of 'development', especially in Third World countries. This paperback edition includes a new preface.

    1 Introduction: the idea that science is value free 2 Values 3 Cognitive values 4 Science as value free: provisional theses 5 Scientific understanding 6 The control of nature 7 Kuhn: scientific activity in different ‘worlds’ 8 A “grassroots empowerment” approach 9 A feminist approach 10 Science as value free: revised theses 11 Conclusion


    Hugh Lacey is Professor of Philosophy at Swarthmore College. He is also the co-author (with Barry Schwartz) of Behaviourism, Science and Human Nature.

    'Lacey's book must be considered a major contribution and should be of interest to all philosophers of science and others interested in the role of values in supposed rational thought.' - Stephen Mumford, Mind

    'Lacey's arguments are readily accessible and do not require a specialist's knowledge - the book can easily serve as an introduction to the topical and controversial question of the role of values in scientific inquiry as well as challenging taken-for-granted positions of specialists.' - James Sauer, Research in Philosophy and Technology

    'Adds richness to the terms of the debate and intriguing philosophical framework for the problems that arise ... This work will raise important questions for anyone who has wondered, not whether science currently is value-free, but what such an ideal would be and whether the idea is defensible.' - Heather Douglas, Philosophy of Science