Volume 72, 2018
Is it Possible to Conduct Science under an Engaged Epistemology?
Some Reflections on the Role of Social and Ethical Values on Chagas Disease Investigations
In this paper, I aim to identify the different cognitive, contextual and social values involved in epidemiological research on Chagas disease. As it is considered as a ‘neglected tropical disease’ by the World Health Organization, I will try to unfold the many senses of ‘neglected’ and in which sense different non-cognitive values can be manifested in research on this disease through a pluralism of disciplines and methods. The point of departure of this investigation is a model that explains the dynamics of scientific activity. The model is the one developed by Hugh Lacey, based on the notion of strategies of research, in which scientific research has to be socially framed. I will try to show that the social, political and economic conditions of certain populations, which define their ‘neglected’ character, constitute a perspective that needs to be considered in epidemiological research. Finally, this perspective is defined in the moment of adoption of strategies of research that reflects the social and ethical values adopted by scientists in Chagas disease investigations.