Scientific Theories and Value Judgments
There is indeed a “logical gap” between observation/data and theory. It doesn’t automatically follow that we need necessarily plug that gap with “value judgements”; as Elizabeth Anderson argues. I suppose it depends on what Anderson means by “value judgements”. Considering the rest of her paper, she doesn’t mean by value judgments those judgements as to what makes a theory simpler, more explanatory, more “powerful”, or more “empirically adequate” (or a mixture of all these); which most scientists and philosophers of science accept as determinants of scientific theory. It's more likely, in this paper at least, that she's talking about ideological and political value-judgements. At least that’s the impression I get from her paper and the hints she gives within it.
I would also need to know what Anderson means by “background assumptions”. In any case, those background assumptions would be - or would go alongside - the various value judgments; and those value judgments - or at least some of them (as I’ve just stated) - could very well be ideological and/or political in nature. There may be various background assumptions which will be “used to argue that a given observation constitutes evidence for a given hypothesis” (482); but need they be political and/or ideological in nature?
The Epistemic Evaluation of Scientific Theories
We have crossed over another and wider logical gap: the gap between scientific theory and the outright political and/or ideological assessments of - or normative judgements upon - those scientific theories.
The Political Applications of Theories
i) Firstly Anderson stressed the “logical gap” between observations/data and the theories which arise from them.
ii) Secondly she noted the logical gap between the “epistemic evaluation of theories” and “the interests their applications serve” (480).ii) Finally Anderson also noted the logical gap between scientific theories and their political applications (which is obviously related to ii)).
Anderson cites her own example of a bad political application of a (possibly true?) theory: the case of Steven Goldberg who “uses his theory of sex differences in aggression to justify a gendered division of labour that deliberately confines women to low-prestige occupations” (479).
“The proponents of the programmed [should respect] the logical gap between fact and value” (479).