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The Values of Scientists and Technologists. How and Why. Philosophy and theology = knowing why (purpose). The study of purpose in philosophy is called teleology. Science = knowing why (causes of events) = knowing how (mechanisms) Technology = knowing how (to do things).

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The Values of Scientists and Technologists

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The values of scientists and technologists l.jpg

The Values of Scientists and Technologists


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How and Why

  • Philosophy and theology = knowing why (purpose). The study of purpose in philosophy is called teleology.

  • Science = knowing why (causes of events) = knowing how (mechanisms)

  • Technology = knowing how (to do things)


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Science and Technology can exist separate from one another

  • Until the Renaissance, almost all technology was divorced from science

  • Ancient Greeks did science without applying it to technology

  • Modern “pure research” may not have any immediate application to technology


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Scientists and Technologists have all the value drives of normal human beings


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Some Values of Scientists

Autonomy

  • Being allowed to work in science

  • Freedom to Choose Research

  • "Ethical Neutrality" - findings should not be tailored to fit a particular value system

    • This is anything but an ethically neutral position!


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Intellectual Integrity and Methodology

Confirmation, repeatability

Reduction, isolation, superposition, idealization

Conceptual precision

Symbolic thinking, mathematics, analogy

Empiricism, positivism

Caution about claims of absolute truth

Some Values of Scientists


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Some Values of Scientists

Esthetics

  • Ingenuity, conciseness, elegance

  • Value of past achievements of science

  • Value of facts per se


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Some Values of Scientists

Social Interactions as Scientists

  • Chance to contribute, prestige, relevance

  • Scientists invest time the way financiers invest money--for return.

  • Professional ethics

    • Acknowledge work of others

    • Courtesy even in controversy or dispute

    • Faking results, if exposed, will usually wreck a career - but "fudging” happens


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Some Values of Technologists

  • For the most part, technologists and scientists share many core values.

  • Ingenuity

  • Sometimes fascination with complexity or bigness for its own sake

  • Sometimes an inferiority complex with regard to science

  • Technical competence

  • Professional advancement


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Reductionism

  • Treat Components of Problem in Isolation

  • Reduce Scope of Problem to More Manageable Level

  • Reduce the Number of Variables

  • Restrict Concern to Scientific or Technical Issues


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Reductionism: Restrict Concern to Scientific or Technical Issues

  • Scientists can sometimes let fascination override other considerations

  • Scientists can seek refuge from moral issues in abstract research

  • Does technology create moral problems or reveal them?


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Values of Science and Technology Change with Time and Culture

  • Growth of "Big Science"

  • Growing dependence on government support

  • Publish or perish

  • Grantsmanship


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Science, Technology and the Public

  • Feeling of impotence--technology out of control

  • Cognitive dissonance--math and science anxiety

  • The appeal of pseudoscience

  • Unreasonable expectations

    • Technology will bring the "good life"

    • We can make value decisions "scientifically"


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