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Out from the ShadowsAnalytical Feminist Contributions to Traditional Philosophy$
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Sharon L. Crasnow and Anita M. Superson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199855469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199855469.001.0001

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Uses of Value Judgments in Science

Uses of Value Judgments in Science

A General Argument, with Lessons from a Case Study of Feminist Research on Divorce

(p.377) 14 Uses of Value Judgments in Science
Out from the Shadows

Elizabeth Anderson

Oxford University Press

This essay critically examines the thesis that social science is value–neutral–that is, that it neither presupposes nor supports any nonepistemic (social, political, moral) value judgments. I argue that the standard arguments for value-neutrality are contradictory. Their real concern is not that scientific theories might have evaluative content, but that they might be held dogmatically. I demonstrate, through a detailed examination of a case study of feminist research on divorce, how to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate (dogmatic) uses of value judgments in science, and more from less epistemically fruitful values. I also argue that there is empirical evidence for value judgments, which lies in our emotional experiences to things in the world.

Keywords:   value neutrality, emotions, Weber, Max, divorce, social science, values, dogmatism, feminist science

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