Sauvayre R. (2019), « Ethics of belief, confidence and epistemic value. The scientific controversy over the measles vaccine » (fr.), Revue Française d’Ethique Appliquée, n°8

An anxious belief that the vaccine against measles may cause autism in children has circulated since 1998. This belief has resulted in a worldwide reduction of vaccination coverage. Between 1998 and 2004, the scientific community was engaged in an intense debate over proof of vaccine safety. The question is then to examine the justification and the acceptance of this anxious belief by scientists, journalists, and parents. What are the ethical obligations of individuals when scientific evidence is lacking ? Therefore, the ethics of belief will be questioned through a contemporary socio-historical case study because it permits the examination of belief, knowledge and confidence mechanisms, and the attribution of epistemic values when it is difficult to produce indisputable evidence.

Keywords : Ethics, values, confidence, belief, justification, vaccine, autism, scientific controversy.