The new demarcation problem

Bennett Holman, Torsten Wilholt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


There is now a general consensus amongst philosophers in the values in science literature that values necessarily play a role in core areas of scientific inquiry. We argue that attention should now be turned from debating the value-free ideal to delineating legitimate from illegitimate influences of values in science, a project we dub “The New Demarcation Problem.” First, we review past attempts to demarcate the uses of values and propose a categorization of the strategies by where they seek to draw legitimacy from. Next, we propose a set of desiderata for what we take to be a satisfactory solution and present a case study where conflicting sets of values clearly impinge on science, but where the legitimacy of their influence is ambiguous. We use these desiderata and the case study to illustrate what we take to be the strengths and weaknesses of current strategies. To be clear, our goal is not to answer the question we pose, but to articulate a framework within which a solution can be judged.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-220
Number of pages10
JournalStudies in History and Philosophy of Science
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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