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Center for Sundhedsfilosofi og Etik

Values and knowledge in public health analysis and policy

Alessandra Cenci
Institut for Kulturvidenskaber

Email: Syddansk Universitet

The role of values in scientific inquiry and in particular, the impact different kinds of values have on the internal development of science and science-related policy making is a hot topic involving several different disciplinary fields.

This article-based dissertation (5 articles) aims at exploring a number of different discussions closely related to the value-science-democracy nexus by focusing on the behavioral, normative and epistemological foundations of experimental methods recently developed in public health analysis and policy. They are used as case studies to criticize the value-free ideal of science and propose feasible alternatives to monist interpretations typical of standard utility-based economics.

A primary objective is to demonstrate the plausibility and beneficial epistemic and practical effects of value pluralism and the complementarity of epistemic and non-epistemic values in the task of generating “objectively good” science and knowledge suitable to inform both evidence-based and equity-oriented policies in democratic settings.

The beneficial interplay between both kinds of values is not only expected to boost “virtuous” scientific practices but also to produce better social outcomes once that the value-laden, but still satisfactorily objective, results would be applied to inform health and healthcare policies in a fair society.