Facts, Values, and Intervention

in Borrowed Knowledge

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226429786
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226429809 | DOI:
Facts, Values, and Intervention

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This chapter argues that scientific knowledge can contribute to answering important questions of value in that it is neither irrelevant to value inquiry nor a replacement for it. In exploring the relationship between scientific knowledge and evaluative questions, it first looks at those who characterize this relationship in terms of isolation, with a strict dichotomy between fact and value, and with science squarely on the side of facts. It spells out how we bridge the supposed logical gulf between “is” and “ought,” and argues that facts and values are not so separate after all. The second section proposes an alternative to both isolation and collapse in a pragmatic, limited form of naturalism. This position helps to articulate the contribution that scientific inquiry can make in addressing questions of value. The final section considers a number of ways that knowledge borrowed from chaos theory has been used to address evaluative issues about the role of governmental intervention in the economy. It critically examines a number of arguments about whether and how governments ought to intervene in economic and social affairs.

Keywords: scientific knowledge; value; facts; naturalism; scientific inquiry; borrowed knowledge; chaos theory; government economic intervention

Chapter.  13040 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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