The Integrity of Science: What it Means, Why it Matters
Contrastes: Revista International de Filosofia (Spain), Vol. XII, pp. 5-26, 2007
Posted: 17 Mar 2008 Last revised: 5 Aug 2008
The many meanings of integrity are distinguished. This paper focuses specifically on how the concept of integrity in the sense of firm adherence to values applies to science qua institution. The most relevant values - the epistemological values of evidence-sharing and respect for evidence - are articulated, and shown to be rooted in the character of the scientific enterprise. This paves the way for an exploration of the circumstances that presently threaten to erode commitment to these core values: an exploration illustrated by the disturbing saga of the arthritis drugs Vioxx and Celebrex. The paper concludes with an articulation of why the erosion of scientific integrity should concern us.
Keywords: Science, integrity, values, epistemology, ethics, medical research, Vioxx
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