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Posts Tagged "philosophy of science"

Cross-Check

Is David Deutsch’s Vision of Endless Understanding Delusional?

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I’m a believer in wishful thinking, in the power of our hopes to become self-fulfilling. I even believe that war is going to end! But at some point, if wishful thinking diverges too sharply from what we can reasonably expect from reality, it morphs into denial or delusion. David Deutsch’s hope that science will keep [...]

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Cross-Check

The “Slow Science” Movement Must Be Crushed!

Does science sometimes move too fast for own good? Or anyone’s good? Do scientists, in their eagerness for fame, fortune, promotions and tenure, rush results into print? Tout them too aggressively? Do they make mistakes? Exaggerate? Cut corners? Even commit outright fraud? Do journals publish articles that should have been buried? Do journalists like me [...]

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Doing Good Science

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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Doing Good Science

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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Doing Good Science

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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Doing Good Science

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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Doing Good Science

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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Doing Good Science

Want good reasons to be a Creationist? You won’t find them here.

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I don’t know why it surprises me when technology reporters turn out to be not only anti-science, but also deeply confused about what’s actually going on in scientific knowledge-building. Today’s reminder comes in Virginia Heffernan’s column, “Why I’m a creationist”. There seems not to be much in the way of a coherent argument in support [...]

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Doing Good Science

The quest for underlying order: inside the frauds of Diederik Stapel (part 1)

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Yudhijit Bhattacharjee has an excellent article in the most recent New York Times Magazine (published April 26, 2013) on disgraced Dutch social psychologist Diederik Stapel. Why is Stapel disgraced? At the last count at Retraction Watch, 54 53 of his scientific publications have been retracted, owing to the fact that the results reported in those [...]

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Doing Good Science

Building a scientific method around the ideal of objectivity.

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While modern science seems committed to the idea that seeking verifiable facts that are accessible to anyone is a good strategy for building a reliable picture of the world as it really is, historically, these two ideas have not always gone together. Peter Machamer describes a historical moment when these two senses of objectivity were [...]

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Doing Good Science

The challenges of objectivity: lessons from anatomy.

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In the last post, we talked about objectivity as a scientific ideal aimed at building a reliable picture of what the world is actually like. We also noted that this goal travels closely with the notion of objectivity as what anyone applying the appropriate methodology could see. But, as we saw, it takes a great [...]

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Doing Good Science

The ideal of objectivity.

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In trying to figure out what ethics ought to guide scientists in their activities, we’re really asking a question about what values scientists are committed to. Arguably, something that a scientist values may not be valued as much (if at all) by the average person in that scientist’s society. Objectivity is a value – perhaps [...]

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