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Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal Paperback – July 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0822960263 ISBN-10: 0822960265 Edition: 1st Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1st Edition edition (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822960265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822960263
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #840,425 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal is an important contribution to the debate over science and values, and its account of value-laden science will be of interest to philosophers concerned with policy, scientific objectivity, and the social relevance of philosophy of science. A welcome invitation for philosophers of science to engage more fully with policy issues, a too-often neglected aspect of scientific practice."
—Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


”Douglas has produced a valuable book that should be of interest not only to philosophers but also to historians, sociologists, policy makers, and practicing scientists. . .  Douglas has also raised a number of important issues that scholars working in science studies will want to explore further.”

“A wonderfully evenhanded argument for the impossibility of the ‘value-free ideal’ in science. Highly recommended.”

“Clearly written, a pleasure to read.”

“Occupies a unique niche bridging philosophy and risk assessment. Everyone involved in providing and using scientific advice, and in doing risk analysis in general, would benefit from thinking about the issues and arguments presented in the book.”
—Risk Analysis

“A thought-provoking book for all readers interested in science studies, including philosophy, history, and sociology of science. It is also highly recommended for those who study or work in the decision oriented sciences, an activity that is becoming increasingly relevant in science and politics in contemporary societies.”
—Science and Education

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal is a welcome addition to the growing literature on the role of values in science. She clearly articulates at least one way in which values do play a legitimate, though indirect, role in science (in risk assessment).  She correctly diagnoses some important reasons why there is resistance to recognizing this, and makes it clear why acknowledging the role of values explicitly can be important for using science to make better policy decisions.”
—Sharon Crasnow, Riverside Community College

“An admirable and exciting book. . . . a useful starting point for thinking through such issues.”
—S. John/Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

About the Author

Heather E. Douglas is associate professor of philosophy and Waterloo Chair in Science and Society at the University of Waterloo, Canada.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By George T. Boyett on October 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Douglas has taken a subject that involves everyone and reveals how we arrived here in our thinking and has boiled down the complexities into things that we all can understand and even see daily.
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More About the Author

Heather Douglas is the Waterloo Chair in Science and Society in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Her work focuses on the interface between science and policy, and is concerned with the role values should play in this process, the proper roles for experts and the public, and with how to combine complex sets of evidence in a robust way.

Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, and she was a visiting fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh 2010-2011. She has served on the Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association, on the steering committee of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science, and the Section L committee for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Previously, she was in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Tennessee from 2004-2011 and the Phibbs Assistant Professor of Science and Ethics at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, from 1998-2004. She received her Ph.D. from the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh in 1998.

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