Heather Douglas - Science vs. Politics: The Battle for Integrity

Heather Douglas

Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Jonsson Performance Hall
Admission: Free
Season: 2011-12

This public lecture is free and open to the public. You are also invited to join the Center for Values Fellows for this lecture for $45. Center for Values Fellows will have reserved priority seating, will receive the speaker's recent book in advance, and will be invited to an exclusive reception and book signing after the lecture. Sign up for this lecture or you can sign up for the entire series.

That politics has an influence on science is unavoidable. Political winds shape the amount and emphasis for research funding, on which science is dependent.  Political contexts determine the ethical boundaries for research.  Political debates draw upon scientific research (often selectively).  It light of these forces on science, it becomes imperative to have a clear understanding of scientific integrity, so that it can be both identified when present (or absent) and defended when threatened.  By delving into the roles for values in science (both acceptable and unacceptable), this talk will present a clear and defensible view of scientific integrity, develop its implications for the assessment of expertise, and show how defending scientific integrity is not sufficient to remove all of the influences of politics on science—it removes only the most pernicious.  To address the full range of politicization concerns, we need to consider both the social community of science and the reasons why we pursue science.

Heather Douglas works on the use of science in policy-making, the role of values in science, the moral responsibilities of scientists, and the nature of scientific objectivity. These interests are summarized in her 2009 book, Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal. She has served on the Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association, the steering committee of the International Society for History of Philosophy of Science, and the Section L committee for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Douglas has just been named the Waterloo Chair of Science and Society at the University of Waterloo. She received her Ph.D. from the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh.


For more information contact:
Magdalena Grohman
[email protected]

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