Date of this Version
Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, vol. 5 (1978)
This paper explores the question of whether scientific acceptance of hypotheses requires making moral or other non-epistemic judgments. Much of the paper discusses the controversy surrounding an influential argument proposed by Richard Rudner to show that scientists qua scientists must make value judgments. Isaac Levi's well-known critique of Rudner's argument is examined, and the argument is assessed both in the light of Levi's distinction between accepting a hypothesis and acting on it, and in terms of a partial analysis of what constitutes scientific acceptance. On the basis of this analysis, the question whether scientists may properly accept hypotheses, rather than simply assess their degree of confirmation, is also briefly explored. The paper concludes that none of the arguments considered shows either that scientists should never accept hypotheses or that, when they do, moral considerations must form part of the basis of their decision.