•  189
    Nonepistemic Values and the Multiple Goals of Science
    Philosophy of Science 81 (1): 1-21. 2014.
    Recent efforts to argue that nonepistemic values have a legitimate role to play in assessing scientific models, theories, and hypotheses typically either reject the distinction between epistemic and nonepistemic values or incorporate nonepistemic values only as a secondary consideration for resolving epistemic uncertainty. Given that scientific representations can legitimately be evaluated not only based on their fit with the world but also with respect to their fit with the needs of their users…Read more
  •  151
    We argue that the analysis of cognitive attitudes should play a central role in developing more sophisticated accounts of the proper roles for values in science. First, we show that the major recent efforts to delineate appropriate roles for values in science would be strengthened by making clearer distinctions among cognitive attitudes. Next, we turn to a specific example and argue that a more careful account of the distinction between the attitudes of belief and acceptance can contribute to a …Read more
  •  117
    Although many philosophers have employed the distinction between “direct” and “indirect” roles for values in science, I argue that it merits further clarification. The distinction can be formulated in several ways: as a logical point, as a distinction between epistemic attitudes, or as a clarification of different consequences associated with accepting scientific claims. Moreover, it can serve either as part of a normative ideal or as a tool for policing how values influence science. While vario…Read more
  •  98
    Douglas on values: From indirect roles to multiple goals
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3): 375-383. 2013.
    In recent papers and a book, Heather Douglas has expanded on the well-known argument from inductive risk, thereby launching an influential contemporary critique of the value-free ideal for science. This paper distills Douglas’s critique into four major claims. The first three claims provide a significant challenge to the value-free ideal for science. However, the fourth claim, which delineates her positive proposal to regulate values in science by distinguishing direct and indirect roles for val…Read more
  •  90
    Science, Expertise, and Democracy
    Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (2): 83-90. 2012.
    The combination of government’s significant involvement in science, science’s significant effects on the public, and public ignorance raise important challenges for reconciling scientific expertise with democratic governance. Nevertheless, there have recently been a variety of encouraging efforts to make scientific activity more responsive to social values and to develop citizens’ capacity to engage in more effective democratic governance of science. This essay introduces a special issue of the …Read more
  •  85
    A Tapestry of Values: Response to My Critics
    Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 10 (11). 2018.
    This response addresses the excellent responses to my book provided by Heather Douglas, Janet Kourany, and Matt Brown. First, I provide some comments and clarifications concerning a few of the highlights from their essays. Second, in response to the worries of my critics, I provide more detail than I was able to provide in my book regarding my three conditions for incorporating values in science. Third, I identify some of the most promising avenues for further research that flow out of this inte…Read more
  •  75
    Philosophers of science readily acknowledge that nonepistemic values influence the discovery and pursuit of scientific theories, but many tend to regard these influences as epistemically uninteresting. The present paper challenges this position by identifying three avenues through which nonepistemic values associated with discovery and pursuit in contemporary pollution research influence theory appraisal: (1) by guiding the choice of questions and research projects, (2) by altering experimental …Read more
  •  64
    Epistemic and methodological iteration in scientific research
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 43 (2): 376-382. 2012.
    A number of scholars have recently drawn attention to the importance of iteration in scientific research. This paper builds on these previous discussions by drawing a distinction between epistemic and methodological forms of iteration and by clarifying the relationships between them. As defined here, epistemic iteration involves progressive alterations to scientific knowledge claims, whereas methodological iteration refers to an interplay between different modes of research practice. While disti…Read more
  •  58
    This paper examines how ethically significant assumptions and values are embedded not only in environmental policies but also in the language of the environmental sciences. It shows, based on three case studies associated with contemporary pollution research, how the choice of scientific categories and terms can have at least four ethically significant effects: influencing the future course of scientific research; altering public awareness or attention to environmental phenomena; affecting the a…Read more
  •  50
    Could low-level exposure to polluting chemicals be analogous to exercise -- a beneficial source of stress that strengthens the body? Some scientists studying the phenomenon of hormesis claim that that this may be the case.s A Little Pollution Good For You? critically examines the current evidence for hormesis.
  •  48
    From genetic to genomic regulation: iterativity in microRNA research
    with Maureen A. O’Malley and Richard M. Burian
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 41 (4): 407-417. 2010.
    The discovery and ongoing investigation of microRNAs suggest important conceptual and methodological lessons for philosophers and historians of biology. This paper provides an account of miRNA research and the shift from viewing these tiny regulatory entities as minor curiosities to seeing them as major players in the post-transcriptional regulation of genes. Conceptually, the study of miRNAs is part of a broader change in understandings of genetic regulation, in which simple switch-like mechani…Read more
  •  39
    Robert Proctor has argued that ignorance or non-knowledge can be fruitfully divided into at least three categories: ignorance as native state or starting point; ignorance as lost realm or selective choice; and ignorance as strategic ploy or active construct. This chapter explores Proctor’s second category, ignorance as selective choice. When scientists investigate poorly understood phenomena, they have to make selective choices about what questions to ask, what research strategies and metrics to…Read more
  •  33
    The potential for financial conflicts of interest (COIs) to damage the credibility of scientific research has become a significant social concern, especially in the wake of high-profile incidents involving the pharmaceutical, tobacco, fossil-fuel, and chemical industries. Scientists and policy makers have debated whether the presence of financial COIs should count as a reason for treating research with suspicion or whether research should instead be evaluated solely based on its scientific quali…Read more
  •  30
    Environmental Aesthetics and Public Environmental Philosophy
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 14 (2). 2011.
    We argue that environmental aesthetics, and specifically the concept of aesthetic integrity, should play a central role in a public environmental philosophy designed to communicate about environmental problems in an effective manner. After developing the concept of the ?aesthetic integrity? of the environment, we appeal to empirical research to show that it contributes significantly to people?s sense of place, which is, in turn, central to their well-being and motivational state. As a result, ap…Read more
  •  28
    The ability of powerful and well-funded interest groups to steer scientific research in directions that advance their goals has become a significant social concern. This ability is increasingly being recognized in the peer-reviewed literature and in the findings of deliberative expert consensus committees. For example, there is increasing recognition that efforts to address climate change have been stymied in part by a powerful network of conservative foundations, which fund think tanks and othe…Read more
  •  27
    Anthropocentric Indirect Arguments for Environmental Protection
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (3): 243-260. 2014.
    Environmental ethicists have devoted considerable attention to discussing whether anthropocentric or nonanthropocentric arguments provide more appropriate means for defending environmental protection. This paper argues that philosophers, scientists, and policy makers should pay more attention to a particular type of anthropocentric argument. These anthropocentric indirect arguments defend actions or policies that benefit the environment, but they justify the policies based on beneficial effects …Read more
  •  27
    Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles, Energy Policy, and the Ethics of Expertise
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 27 (4): 376-393. 2010.
    Relatively few thinkers have attempted to develop a systematic ‘ethics of expertise’ (EOE) that can guide scientists and other technical experts in providing information to the public. This paper argues that the prima facie duty to disseminate information in a manner that does not damage the self-determination of decision makers could fruitfully serve as one of the core principles of an EOE. Moreover, this duty can be fleshed out in promising ways by drawing on the concept of informed consent, w…Read more
  •  24
    The biological effects of low doses of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are currently a matter of significant scientific controversy. This paper argues that philosophers of science can contribute to alleviating this controversy by examining it with the aid of a novel account of scientific anomaly. Specifically, analysis of contemporary research on chemical hormesis (i.e., alleged beneficial biological effects produced by low doses of substances that are harmful at higher doses) suggests that sci…Read more
  •  23
    : This paper examines the epistemological warrant for a toxicological phenomenon known as chemical hormesis. First, it argues that conceptual confusion contributes significantly to current disagreements about the status of chemical hormesis as a biological hypothesis. Second, it analyzes seven distinct concepts of chemical hormesis, arguing that none are completely satisfactory. Finally, it suggests three ramifications of this analysis for ongoing debates about the epistemological status of chem…Read more
  •  20
    Economist Frank Knight drew a distinction between decisions under risk and decisions under uncertainty. Despite the significance of this distinction for decision theory, we argue that there has been inadequate attention to the difficulties involved in classifying decision situations into these categories. Using the risk assessment of carbon nanotubes as an example, we show that it is often unclear whether there is adequate information to classify a decision situation as being under risk as oppos…Read more
  •  19
    The potential for financial conflicts of interest to influence scientific research in problematic ways has recently become a significant topic of discussion across numerous fields. The chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutical, and tobacco industries have all been accused of suppressing evidence that their products are harmful, producing studies with questionable methodologies, generating questionable reinterpretations of studies that challenge their products, and working with public relations firms a…Read more
  •  15
    Bisphenol A and Risk Management Ethics
    Bioethics 29 (3): 182-189. 2015.
    It is widely recognized that endocrine disrupting compounds, such as Bisphenol A, pose challenges for traditional paradigms in toxicology, insofar as these substances appear to have a wider range of low-dose effects than previously recognized. These compounds also pose challenges for ethics and policymaking. When a chemical does not have significant low-dose effects, regulators can allow it to be introduced into commerce or the environment, provided that procedures and rules are in place to keep…Read more
  •  13
    While the science and values literature has seen recurrent concerns about wishful thinking, there have been few efforts to characterize this phenomenon. Based on a review of varieties of wishful thinking involved in climate skepticism, we argue that instances of wishful thinking can be fruitfully characterized in terms of the mechanisms that generate them and the problems associated with them. We highlight the array of mechanisms associated with wishful thinking, as well as the fact that it can …Read more
  •  13
    Review of What Is Nanotechnology and Why Does It Matter: From Science to Ethics (review)
    Studies in Ethics, Law, and Technology 5 (1). 2011.
  •  11
    The promise and perils of industry‐funded science
    Philosophy Compass 13 (11). 2018.
  •  11
    Addressing Industry-Funded Research with Criteria for Objectivity
    Philosophy of Science 85 (5): 857-868. 2018.
    In recent years, industry-funded research has come under fire because of concerns that it can be biased in favor of the funders. This article suggests that efforts by philosophers of science to analyze the concept of objectivity can provide important lessons for those seeking to evaluate and improve industry-funded research. It identifies three particularly relevant criteria for objectivity: transparency, reproducibility, and effective criticism. On closer examination, the criteria of transparen…Read more
  •  10
    The ethics of infection control: philosophical frameworks
    with Charles S. Bryan and Theresa J. Call
    Ethics 28 (9): 1077-1084. 2007.
  •  10
    Selective Ignorance and Agricultural Research
    Science, Technology, and Human Values 38 (3): 328-350. 2012.
    Scholars working in science and technology studies have recently argued that we could learn much about the nature of scientific knowledge by paying closer attention to scientific ignorance. Building on the work of Robert Proctor, this article shows how ignorance can stem from a wide range of selective research choices that incline researchers toward partial, limited understandings of complex phenomena. A recent report produced by the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, a…Read more
  •  9
    Environmental Health Ethics
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 17 (2): 238-239. 2014.