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A Rawlsian Solution to the New Demarcation Problem

Cabrera, Frank (2023) A Rawlsian Solution to the New Demarcation Problem. Canadian Journal of Philosophy. pp. 1-27.

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Abstract

In the last two decades, a robust consensus has emerged among philosophers of science, according to which political, ethical, or social values must play some role in scientific inquiry, and that the “value-free ideal” is thus a misguided conception of science. However, the question of how to distinguish, in a principled way which values may legitimately influence science remains. This question, which has been dubbed the “new demarcation problem”, has until recently received comparatively less attention from philosophers of science. In this paper, I appeal to Rawls’ theory of justice (1971) on the basis of which I defend a Rawlsian solution to the new demarcation problem. As I argue, the Rawlsian solution places plausible constraints on which values ought to influence scientific inquiry, and moreover, can be fruitfully applied to concrete cases to determine how the conflicting interests of stakeholders should be balanced. After considering and responding to the objection that Rawls’ theory of justice applies only to the “basic structure” of society, I compare the Rawlsian solution to some other approaches to the new demarcation problem, especially those that emphasize democratic criteria.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Cabrera, Frankfjcabrera@wisc.edu
Keywords: Values in Science, Inductive Risk; Value-Free Ideal; Demarcation Problem; Rawls; Basic Structure; Deliberative Democracy
Subjects: General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Frank Cabrera
Date Deposited: 12 May 2023 12:23
Last Modified: 12 May 2023 12:23
Item ID: 22095
Journal or Publication Title: Canadian Journal of Philosophy
Subjects: General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Society
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2023
Page Range: pp. 1-27
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22095

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