Risk and Values in Science: A Peircean View

Daniele Chiffi*, Ahti Veikko Pietarinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Scientific evidence and scientific values under risk and uncertainty are strictly connected from the point of view of Peirce’s pragmaticism. In addition, economy and statistics play a key role in both choosing and testing hypotheses. Hence we may show also the connection between the methodology of the economy of research and statistical frequentism, both originating from pragmaticism. The connection is drawn by the regulative principles of synechism, tychism and uberty. These principles are values that have both epistemic and non-epistemic dimension. They concern both the decisions to test a hypothesis as well as inductive risk. The validity of this result stems from the values cost–benefit analysis imposes on scientific inquiry. Values associated with the economy of research are important not only in the pre-test phases of generating hypotheses but also when hypotheses are effectively tested. Peirce took these economic considerations to leave room for an interpretation of probability which is not only a frequentist and propensity-theoretic but also a conceptualist one referring to degrees of belief. We show that this leeway nonetheless agrees with the theory of the economy of scientific methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-346
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Abduction
  • Economy of research
  • Frequentism
  • Peirce
  • Risk
  • Values


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