Matthew J. Brown is associate professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas.
The idea that science is or should be value-free, and that values are or should be formed independently of science, has been under fire by philosophers of science for decades. Science and Moral Imagination directly challenges the idea that science and values cannot and should not influence each other. Matthew J. Brown argues that science and values mutually influence and implicate one another, that the influence of values on science is pervasive and must be responsibly managed, and that science can and should have an influence on our values. This interplay, he explains, must be guided by accounts of scientific inquiry and value judgment that are sensitive to the complexities of their interactions. Brown presents scientific inquiry and value judgment as types of problem-solving practices and provides a new framework for thinking about how we might ethically evaluate episodes and decisions in science, while offering guidance for scientific practitioners and institutions about how they can incorporate value judgments into their work. His framework, dubbed “the ideal of moral imagination,” emphasizes the role of imagination in value judgment and the positive role that value judgment plays in science.