Can the Science of Well-Being Be Objective?
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
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Alexandrova, A. (2018). Can the Science of Well-Being Be Objective?. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 69 (2), 421-445. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axw027
Well-being, health and freedom are some of the many phenomena of interest to science whose definitions rely on a normative standard. Empirical generalizations about them thus present a special case of value-ladenness. I propose the notion of a 'mixed claim' to denote such generalizations. Against the prevailing wisdom, I argue that we should not seek to eliminate them from science. Rather, we need to develop principles for their legitimate use. Philosophers of science have already reconciled values with objectivity in several ways, but none of the existing proposals are suitable for mixed claims. Using the example of the science of well-being, I articulate a conception of objectivity for this science and for mixed claims in general.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axw027
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/253068