Norms, Values and Scientific Rationality
Philosophy between Old and New Values. Proceedings of XXII Varna International Philosophical School, 29 May-01 June 2002, IphR-BAS, Sofia, pp.382-384;
Following a suitable analogy with laws of nature, we can say that norms are relatively independent of normative decisions. The agent makes a decision to accept or not to accept rational norms, because such decisions fall in with his own interpretation of science’s aims and problems, as well as with the interpretation accepted by his own scientific community. The choice of a norm is determined by the interest taken in maximizing an expected “epistemic utility” (K. Hempel). A norm only defines the common framework and principles of scientific problem solving – its application is a question of professional skills and a creative attitude to a particular problem. It also presents the possible “good grounds” that determine rational choice (SHICK 1997, p.34). It is of no importance, if the agent’s cognitive abilities do not satisfy the requirements of a norm. Such a discrepancy can be compensated for by the fact that a scientist works in a conceptual and normative framework, established by a whole scientific community. There is an invariant core in the norms of rationality, accounting for their being no so liable to change in comparison to legal norms. The requirements of empirical and theoretical justification of knowledge (MAHER 1993, pp. 25-30), critical attitude, explanatory and predictive force, can play such a role.
norms, values, rationality