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Inductive risk: does it really refute value-freedom?

Dressel, Markus (2022) Inductive risk: does it really refute value-freedom? THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science, 37 (2). pp. 181-207. ISSN 2171-679X

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Abstract

The argument from inductive risk is considered to be one of the strongest challenges for value-free science. A great part of its appeal lies in the idea that even an ideal epistemic agent—the “perfect scientist” or “scientist qua scientist”—cannot escape inductive risk. In this paper, I scrutinize this ambition by stipulating an idealized Bayesian decision setting. I argue that inductive risk does not show that the “perfect scientist” must, descriptively speaking, make non-epistemic value-judgements, at least not in a way that undermines the value-free ideal. However, the argument is more successful in showing that there are cases where the “perfect scientist” should, normatively speaking, use non-epistemic values. I also show that this is possible without creating problems of illegitimate prescription and wishful thinking. Thus, while inductive risk does not refute value-freedom completely, it still represents a powerful critique of value-free science.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Dressel, Markusmarkus.dressel@uni-hamburg.de0000-0002-4789-5249
Additional Information: ISSN: 0495-4548 (print)
Keywords: inductive risk; value-free ideal; scientist qua scientist; Bayesianism; wishful thinking; prescription
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email theoria@ehu.es
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 03:43
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2022 03:43
Item ID: 20990
Journal or Publication Title: THEORIA. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science
Publisher: Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea / Universidad del País Vasco
Official URL: https://ojs.ehu.eus/index.php/THEORIA/article/view...
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1387/theoria.22795
Subjects: General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: May 2022
Page Range: pp. 181-207
Volume: 37
Number: 2
ISSN: 2171-679X
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20990

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