The fact/value dichotomy relativized: a defense and exploration
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
European Network for the Philosophy of the Social Sciences
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
According to Putnam, logical empiricism?s conception of value judgments exerted an immense and detrimental influence on the social sciences and on the general public. The notion of a dichotomy between objective facts and subjective values allegedly renders different solutions to ethical problems merely a matter of taste. Hence, any discussion about ethical problems is deemed futile and science and humanity stop their intellectual and practical strive for societal improvements. ?The worst thing about the fact/value dichotomy is that in practice it functions as a discussion-stopper, and not just as a discussion-stopper, but a thought-stopper (Putnam 2002, 44).? Acknowledging the entanglement of
factual and evaluative statements in science and society, this paper defends a relativized version of the fact/value dichotomy against most of Putnam?s criticisms and sketches its use as a conceptual tool to
analyze scientific policy advice and public discourse.
We will briefly recollect Putnam?s famous critique of the fact-value dichotomy (I), highlight some problems with it (II), defend a Carnapian relativized version of the dichotomy as a conceptual tool to analyze scientific policy advice and public discourse (III), and sketch some challenges in the explication of such a relativized dichotomy (IV).