Volume 30, 1987
Science and Ethics
On the Value of Scientific Knowledge
Presumably, most scientists believe that scientific knowledge is intrinsically good, i.e. good in itself, apart from consequences. This doctrine should be rejected. The arguments which are usually given for it — e.g. by philosophers like W.D. Ross, R. Brandt, and W. Frankena — are quite inconclusive. In particular, it may be doubted whether knowledge is in fact desired for its own sake, and even i f it is, this would not support the doctrine. However, the doctrine is open to counter-examples. The main counter-argument is that the doctrine has implications which are morally unacceptable.