Fact/Value Conflation and the Danger of the Traditional Models

  • Martin Kowarsch
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science book series (BSPS, volume 323)


The decisionist and technocratic models of scientific expertise in policy are critically evaluated in this chapter regarding their potential to address the major pitfalls of scientific expertise in policy. The mistaken philosophical assumption of a fact/value dichotomy, which is underlying these two traditional science-policy models, is identified as the main weakness of these models. The assumption that factual statements and (ethical) value judgements can be neatly separated in policy-relevant research is crucial for these models and a necessary precondition for their understanding of scientific objectivity. However, there is an inevitable fact/value entanglement in scientific statements; values, including ethical ones, permeate all experience and scientific knowledge. Hence, the decisionist and technocratic models cannot ensure that expertise in policy-making processes is reliable for everyone. Instead, due to their mistaken assumption of fact/value separability, they often lead to a misguided use or even misuse of expertise in policy in terms of the legitimisation model. Consequently, the decisionist and technocratic models are unable to realise the general norms developed in Sect.  2.1.


Traditional Model Scientific Statement Objective Knowledge Normative Judgement Scientific Claim 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Kowarsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC)BerlinGermany

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