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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Explanatory Judgment, Moral Offense and Value-Free Science

By Matteo Colombo, Leandra Bucher, & Yoel Inbar
Review of Philosophy and Psychology
August 2015

Abstract

A popular view in philosophy of science contends that scientific reasoning is objective to the extent that the appraisal of scientific hypotheses is not influenced by moral, political, economic, or social values, but only by the available evidence. A large body of results in the psychology of motivated-reasoning has put pressure on the empirical adequacy of this view. The present study extends this body of results by providing direct evidence that the moral offensiveness of a scientific hypothesis biases explanatory judgment along several dimensions, even when prior credence in the hypothesis is controlled for. Furthermore, it is shown that this bias is insensitive to an economic incentive to be accurate in the evaluation of the evidence. These results contribute to call into question the attainability of the ideal of a value-free science.

The entire article is here.
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