Environmental justice, values, and scientific expertise

Kennedy Inst Ethics J. 2012 Jun;22(2):163-82. doi: 10.1353/ken.2012.0010.


This essay compares two philosophical proposals concerning the relation between values and science, both of which reject the value-free ideal but nevertheless place restrictions on how values and science should interact. The first of these proposals relies on a distinction between the direct and indirect roles of values, while the second emphasizes instead a distinction between epistemic and nonepistemic values. We consider these two proposals in connection with a case study of disputed research on the topic of environmental justice and argue that the second proposal has several advantages over the first.

MeSH terms

  • Democracy
  • Environment*
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Humans
  • Knowledge*
  • Natural Science Disciplines*
  • Social Justice*
  • Social Values