PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Measuring Inequality: The Role of Values and Inductive Risk

The focus of this paper is on the argument from inductive risk in the context of social science research on disparate impact in employment outcomes. We identify three situations in the testing of scientific theories that raise considerations of inductive risk: choice of significance test, choice of how to measure disparate impact, and the operationalization of scientific variables. We argue that non-epistemic values have a legitimate role in two of these situations, but not the third. We use this observation to discuss when and under what conditions considerations of inductive risk help to justify a role for values in science.

Author Information:

Robin Andreasen    
Linguistics & Cognitive Science
University of Delaware

Heather Doty    
Mechanical Engineering
University of Delaware


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