Values as Evidence in Science


Sharyn Clough


If values are ubiquitous in science, then we can no longer use the presence of values to discriminate between good and bad science. Some scientific hypotheses can be empirically well-supported and value-laden. How? Much depends on the nature of empirical support, and the definition of values. I argue that values can function as empirical claims, and that where relevant and well-supported by evidence, values can increase the empirical strength of particular scientific theories. Responding to recent commentaries, I analyze the empirical strength of feminist values in particular and show that the evidence-based nature of these values is neither a weakness nor an idealization.