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Doing Good Science


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    Janet D. Stemwedel Janet D. Stemwedel is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at San José State University. Her explorations of ethics, scientific knowledge-building, and how they are intertwined are informed by her misspent scientific youth as a physical chemist. Follow on Twitter @docfreeride.
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  • Pub-Style Science: dreams of objectivity in a game built around power.

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    This is the third and final installment of my transcript of the Pub-Style Science discussion about how (if at all) philosophy can (or should) inform scientific knowledge-building. Leading up to this part of the conversation, we were considering the possibility that the idealization of the scientific method left out a lot of the details of [...]

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    Pub-Style Science: exclusion, inclusion, and methodological disputes.

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    This is the second part of my transcript of the Pub-Style Science discussion about how (if at all) philosophy can (or should) inform scientific knowledge-building, wherein we discuss methodological disputes, who gets included or excluded in scientific knowledge-building, and ways the exclusion or inclusion might matter. Also, we talk about power gradients and make the [...]

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    Pub-Style Science: philosophy, hypotheses, and the scientific method.

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    Last week I was honored to participate in a Pub-Style Science discussion about how (if at all) philosophy can (or should) inform scientific knowledge-building. Some technical glitches notwithstanding, it was a rollicking good conversation — so much so that I have put together a transcript for those who don’t want to review the archived video. [...]

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    What is philosophy of science (and should scientists care)?

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    Just about 20 years ago, I abandoned a career as a physical chemist to become a philosopher of science. For most of those 20 years, people (especially scientists) have been asking me what the heck the philosophy of science is, and whether scientists have any need of it. There are lots of things philosophers of [...]

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    Reflections on being part of a science blogging network.

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    This is another post following up on a session at ScienceOnline Together 2014, this one called Blog Networks: Benefits, Role of, Next Steps, and moderated by Scientific American Blogs Editor Curtis Brainard. You should also read David Zaslavsky’s summary of the session and what people were tweeting on the session hashtag, #scioBlogNet. My own thoughts [...]

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    Brief thoughts on uncertainty.

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    For context, these thoughts follow upon a very good session at ScienceOnline Together 2014 on “How to communicate uncertainty with the brevity that online communication requires.” Two of the participants in the session used Storify to collect tweets of the discussion (here and here). About a month later, this does less to answer the question [...]

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    Engagement with science needs more than heroes

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    Narratives about the heroic scientist are not what got me interested in science. It was (and still is) hard for me to connect with a larger-than-life figure when my own aspirations have always been pretty life-sized. Also, there’s the fact that the scientific heroes whose stories have been told have mostly been heroes, not heroines, [...]

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    Incoherent ethical claims that give philosophers a bad rap

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    Every now and then, in the course of a broader discussion, some philosopher will make a claim that is rightly disputed by non-philosophers. Generally, this is no big deal — philosophers have just as much capacity to be wrong as other humans. But sometimes, the philosopher’s claim, delivered with an air of authority, is not [...]

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    Soothing jellies

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    One day in to ScienceOnline Together 2014, my head is full of ideas and questions and hunches that weren’t there a day ago. I’ll be posting about some of them after I’ve had some time to digest them. In the meantime, I’m looking at pictures of jellies I snapped on a recent trip to the [...]

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    How to be ethical while getting the public involved in your science

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    At ScienceOnline Together later this week, Holly Menninger will be moderating a session on “Ethics, Genomics, and Public Involvement in Science”. Because the ethical (and epistemic) dimensions of “citizen science” have been on my mind for a while now, in this post I share some very broad, pre-conference thoughts on the subject. Ethics is a [...]

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