Front Page Titles (by Subject) Facts vs. Value-laden Whims - Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4
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Facts vs. Value-laden Whims - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, October/December 1978, vol. 1, No. 4 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Facts vs. Value-laden Whims
“Ideology and ‘a New Machine of War’.” Philosophy (UK), 51 (1976): 447–453.
Does personal taste or cultural prejudice determine our values and so vitiate our claims to objective knowledge in science and moral values? If true, this doctrine would reduce our criteria of knowledge to extreme relativism and scepticism. One currently fashionable version of this sceptical notion claims that there cannot be “a realm of facts independent of theories which establish their meaning.”
This thesis of “value-laden” facts serves as an ideological weapon or “machine of war” to silence one's opponents in social and economic theory by labeling the “scientific” status of rival theories as mere vested-interest briefs. Thus, Robin Blackburn in Ideology in Social Science (1972) argues that the attempt to justify social theories by appealing to an independent realm of facts is unscientific. In reality, the choice of the field of study and the range of concepts selected “all express assumptions about the nature of society and what is theoretically significant and what is not.”
This sceptical assault is not convincing. It is true that we cannot know any propositions without being equipped with their constitutive concepts. This, however, fails to prove “that all propositions are theory-laden,... that we cannot know the phenomena themselves.” In addition, even granting that humans create concepts and necessarily employ them in making discriminations, do not reveal objective differences in the universe around us.”
Finally, this argument recoils upon its wielder by suggesting that his own sceptical argument is value-laden and “unscientific.” The modern ideological sceptics would wish us to accept their own social theories through relativist intimidation. Rashly to accept such relativism would mean replacing the true intellectual's search for truth with “in-group” mentalities.