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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Wendy Parker

Parker, Wendy S. & Winsberg, Eric (2018). Values and evidence: how models make a difference. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 8(1): 125-142.

Author(s) from Durham


We call attention to an underappreciated way in which non-epistemic values influence evidence evaluation in science. Our argument draws upon some well-known features of scientific modeling. We show that, when scientific models stand in for background knowledge in Bayesian and other probabilistic methods for evidence evaluation, conclusions can be influenced by the non-epistemic values that shaped the setting of priorities in model development. Moreover, it is often infeasible to correct for this influence. We further suggest that, while this value influence is not particularly prone to the problem of wishful thinking, it could have problematic non-epistemic consequences in some cases.