Tag Archives: science ethics deicision-making is-ought gap

Richard Chappell

[S]cientists have no expertise in evaluating trade-offs. They aren’t experts in ethical or rational decision-making. [T]heir expertise merely concerns the descriptive facts, providing the essential inputs to rational decision-making, but not what to do with those inputs.

If you blindly defer to doctors and scientists, the resulting policies will be distorted by whatever implicit normative bridging principles they happen to unreflectively hold. These are likely to be unduly conservative (since most people suffer from a wide range of conservative biases). They may oppose challenge trials and other utilitarian policies as “too risky” for the participants, not because they have a more accurate conception of what the risks actually are, but because they lack moral understanding of when risks of that magnitude can be justified.

Richard Chappell, There’s No Such Thing as “Following the Science”, Philosophy, et cetera, January 29, 2021