Home » Scholar of the Week

Heather Douglas

March 17, 2009
Heather Douglas

Heather Douglas

Heather Douglas, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and a faculty associate of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, was elected recently as a Member-at-Large to the Section on History and Philosophy of Science of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her new book, Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal, will be released in May.

While many philosophers of science argue that science should be value-free, Douglas disagrees. In her new book she argues that such an ideal is neither appropriate nor workable for science. She argues that values are needed throughout the scientific process, but that the roles values play must be constrained at key points in scientific inquiry to maintain objectivity. She has been invited to speak at a conference sponsored by the European Science Foundation this May in Beielefeld Germany on science, values, and the politicization of science.

Selected Publications

Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal, University of Pittsburgh Press, forthcoming.

Politics and Philosophy of Science, guest editor, special issue of Science and Education.

“Philosophy of Science, Political Engagement, and the Cold War: An Introduction,” Science and Education, vol. 18 no. 2 (Feb. 2009), pp. 157-160.

“The Role of Values in Expert Reasoning,” Public Affairs Quarterly, vol. 22, no. 1 (Jan. 2008), pp. 1-18.

“Rejecting the Ideal of Value-Free Science,” in Value-Free Science? Ideals and Illusions (2007), Harold Kincaid, John Dupré, and Alison Wylie, eds., Oxford University Press, pp. 120-139.

“Bullshit at the Interface of Science and Policy: Global Warming, Toxic Substances, and Other Pesky Problems,” in Philosophy and Bullshit (2006), Gary L. Hardcastle and George A. Reisch, eds., Open Court Publications, pp. 213-226.

“Inserting the Public into Science,” in Democratization of Expertise? Exploring Novel Forms of Scientific Advice in Political Decision-Making, Sociology of the Sciences, vol. 24 (2005), Sabine Maasen and Peter Weingart (eds.), Springer, pp. 153-169.

“Boundaries between Science and Policy: Descriptive Difficulty and Normative Desirability,” Environmental Philosophy, vol. 2, no. 1 (2005), pp. 14-29.