Title

Science is not always “self-correcting” : fact–value conflation and the study of intelligence

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Foundations of Science

Publication Date

8-1-2016

Volume

21

Issue

3

First Page

477

Last Page

492

Publisher

Springer Netherlands

Keywords

Epistemology, Fact–value distinction, Intelligence research, Science and morality

Abstract

Some prominent scientists and philosophers have stated openly that moral and political considerations should influence whether we accept or promulgate scientific theories. This widespread view has significantly influenced the development, and public perception, of intelligence research. Theories related to group differences in intelligence are often rejected a priori on explicitly moral grounds. Thus the idea, frequently expressed by commentators on science, that science is “self-correcting”—that hypotheses are simply abandoned when they are undermined by empirical evidence—may not be correct in all contexts. In this paper, documentation spanning from the early 1970s to the present is collected, which reveals the influence of scientists’ moral and political commitments on the study of intelligence. It is suggested that misrepresenting findings in science to achieve desirable social goals will ultimately harm both science and society.

DOI

10.1007/s10699-015-9421-3

Print ISSN

12331821

E-ISSN

15728471

Funding Information

This work was supported by a fellowship from the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Cofnas, N. (2016). Science is not always “self-correcting”: Fact–value conflation and the study of intelligence. Foundations of Science, 21(3), 477-492. doi: 10.1007/s10699-015-9421-3

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