How does the "bias" that subconsciously exists in our mind is addressed in natural philosophy because it is one of the most difficult things to get rid of. In any school of thought, some perform, some perform better, some perform brilliantly and some don't perform at all. But, if two individuals perform equally well, and if there is only one prize to give, how does one decide without any "bias"?

So, in brief, what kind of behaviour should we have while assessing a scientific event – "Rational Behaviour", where the prize is decided based on pure logic or "Moral Behaviour" where the prize goes to only that individual who performs but also has a moral conduct and not to the other who only performs but is immoral. That is, his immoral conduct creates a "bias" in our mind against him for an event that is purely scientific in nature and morality has nothing to do with it.

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    You are tying up two unrelated things. Adding another layer of criteria does nothing to solve the problem of breaking a tie. If the two are 'morally' equal, as well as 'rationally' equal, it is still immoral to reward one and not the other. And bias or (unbiased moral judgement, say statutory legal considerations) can offset the 'rational' inequality in the direction of being tied again. Bias doesn't make for fewer ties, and is not the solution to anything. – user9166 Nov 16 '17 at 0:15
  • It is unclear what you are asking. – Mark Andrews Feb 20 '18 at 20:58

if two individuals perform equally well, and if there is only one prize to give, how does one decide without any "bias"?

In such cases we adapt some 'techniques'; but it depends on the objective of the assessment, the type of the assessment and the type of the prize.

You can solve this problem simply by a tiebreaker. Or

You can allow each individual to keep the prize for a specific period. Or

You can divide the prize (if it is a cash prize). Or

You can give the prize to the individual whose performance is good to the society.

what kind of behavior should we have while assessing a scientific event.

If it is a scientific event, it should be purely scientific. But you should know clearly about all the aspects of the term--'scientific'. In some cases you will have to take this for a short period only. In some cases you will have to take this term for a long period only.

Just think of the following situations:

A medicine that could cure a disease a few years ago...if it can't give good results now, can we say that it is scientifically prepared? (At that time the manufacturers may have claimed so.)

But some medicines that could cure a disease hundreds of years ago...without increasing the dose...if it can cure that disease now also, can't we say that it is scientifically prepared?

I mean, the term 'scientific' is moot in many cases. Sprouting of different types of treatments is because of this reason.

So, if the assessment is of a scientific event, don't waver....we should stick to rational behavior only. Since this kind of an assessment does not suit to humanity, this is not a good tendency.


Cognitive bias is dealt with in terms of research on it, in psychology (and economics). Crucially, biases are recognised as adaptive, as serving purposes.

Philosophers generally imagine they can think their way past or outside their own biases. Research shows we generally draw conclusions intuitively, and then rationalise them - so you might infer good philosophers have good intuitions, or good biases. This article seems to have a good discussion of post-hoc rationalising, and links https://www.skepticink.com/tippling/2013/11/14/post-hoc-rationalisation-reasoning-our-intuition-and-changing-our-minds/

It was interesting in another recent thread comparing Kuhn, who wanted to look at scientific revolutions in practice, to Popper, who wanted to divine the ideal of science we should aim to draw closer to. We need both approaches to avoid biases, conclusions from observations and research, and from reasoning with conceptual models.


Whose moral "ruler' are you using to measure with? You have diluted the question. When determining who is the better candidate for anything, one must consider these basic rules of determinaton of promotion.

  1. Who is mentally best suited for the spot? (you don't send a boxer to do brain surgery.)
  2. How efficent and effective is the individual? (time and resources spent. Who came to their conclusion first and how many "pencils and erasers" did they use?)
  3. The complexity and necessity of their efforts. (a laser death ray mouse trap, no matter how cool it is, probably won't sell due to the cost and efficency of the metal spring type.)

And if all of that doesn't pan out.... flip a coin. lol !!

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