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Fauci, Pence at White House press conference

Should Government Just “Follow the Science”?

Several governors have announced that they will lift lockdown orders using the advice they receive from scientists and doctors. But even though scientific knowledge is obviously relevant to a government’s response to a pandemic, can it offer policy guidance all by itself? In a recent episode of New Ideal Live, Ben Bayer and Gregory Salmieri discuss this very question: “Should government just ‘follow the science’?”

Springboarding from several recent articles on the same topic, Bayer and Salmieri discuss how scientific information and expertise are not sufficient to ground the ethical and political value judgments at the basis of policy guidance. These value judgments are the subject of moral and political philosophy. This means that it’s philosophy that provides the basic tools for evaluating and applying scientific information.

During the discussion, Bayer and Salmieri recommend several additional resources that highlight the value of philosophy and identify rational standards in morality and politics. These include Ayn Rand’s essays “Philosophy: Who Needs It,” “The Objectivist Ethics,” and “Man’s Rights,” and Onkar Ghate’s essay “Finding Morality and Happiness Without God.”

Watch or listen to the whole discussion below.

And join the live Zoom broadcast on Mondays and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Pacific to take part in the Q&A. Go to https://zoom.us/join and use Meeting ID: 812-506-718. Or catch the livestream or recordings on YouTube and Facebook.

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Paul Taske

Paul Taske, JD, was a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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