Jan de Winter
Interests and Epistemic Integrity in Science
Rowman and Littlefield 2017
In the 1960’s Thomas Kuhn argued, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that scientists’ choices between competing theories could not be determined by the empirical evidence. Ever since, philosophers of science have debated the role of non-epistemic values and interests in science, generally agreeing that such influences are undesirable even if they are inevitable. In Interests and Epistemic Integrity in Science (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017), Jan de Winter argues that the direct influence of non-epistemic interests in science is not invariably epistemically problematic. In his view, what is mistaken for an epistemic problem is often simply a lack of transparency regarding the interests involved in how scientific decisions have been reached. De Winter, who is an independent scholar, also defends a conception of epistemic integrity in the conduct of scientific research that does not presuppose a distinction between interests that are external to science (such as financial interests) and those which are internal to it.