Synthese

, Volume 177, Issue 3, pp 317–335 | Cite as

Engagement for progress: applied philosophy of science in context

Article

Abstract

Philosophy of science was once a much more socially engaged endeavor, and can be so again. After a look back at philosophy of science in the 1930s–1950s, I turn to discuss the current potential for returning to a more engaged philosophy of science. Although philosophers of science have much to offer scientists and the public, I am skeptical that much can be gained by philosophers importing off-the-shelf discussions from philosophy of science to science and society. Such efforts will likely look like efforts to do applied ethics by merely applying ethical theories to particular contexts and problems. While some insight can be gained by these kinds of endeavors, the most interesting and pressing problems for the actual practitioners and users of science are rarely addressed. Instead, I recommend that philosophers of science engage seriously and regularly with scientists and/or the users of science in order to gain an understanding of the conceptual issues on the ground. From such engagement, flaws in the traditional philosophical frameworks, and how such flaws can be remedied, become apparent. Serious engagement with the contexts of science thus provides the most fruit for philosophy of science per se and for the practitioners whom the philosophers aim to assist. And if one focuses on contexts where science has its most social relevance, these efforts can help to provide the thing that philosophy of science now lacks: a full-bodied philosophy of science in society.

Keywords

Socially relevant philosophy of science Values in science Explanation Prediction Weight of evidence 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Beauchamp T., Childress J. (2009) Principles of biomedical ethics. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  2. Bluhm R. (2005) From hierarchy to network: A richer view of evidence for evidence-based medicine. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 48: 535–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bush V. (1960) Science: The endless frontier. National Science Foundation, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  4. Butts C. F. (1948) Science and social responsibility. Philosophy of Science 15: 100–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cartwright N., Cat J., Fleck L., Uebel T. (1996) Otto Neurath: Philosophy between science and politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Douglas, H. (1998). The use of science in policy-making: A study of values in dioxin science. (Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh).Google Scholar
  7. Douglas H. (2000) Inductive risk and values in science. Philosophy of Science 67: 559–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Douglas H. (2003) Moral responsibilities of scientists: Tensions between autonomy and responsibility. American Philosophical Quarterly 40: 59–68Google Scholar
  9. Douglas H. (2005) Inserting the public into science. In: Maasen S., Weingart P. (eds) Democratization of expertise? Exploring novel forms of scientific advice in political decision-making, sociology of the sciences. Springer, Berlin, pp 153–169Google Scholar
  10. Douglas H. (2007) Rejecting the ideal of value-free science. In: Kincaid H., Dupré J., Wylie A. (eds) Value-free science? Ideals and illusions. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 120–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Douglas H. (2008) The role of values in expert reasoning. Public Affairs Quarterly 22: 1–18Google Scholar
  12. Douglas H. (2009a) Science, policy, and the value-free ideal. University of Pittsburgh Press, PittsburghGoogle Scholar
  13. Douglas H. (2009b) Reintroducing prediction to explanation. Philosophy of Science 76: 444–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edgar S. (2009) Logical empiricism, politics, and professionalism. Science and Education 18: 177–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Elliott K. (2006) An ethics of expertise based on informed consent. Science and Engineering Ethics 12: 637–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elliott K. (2008) A case for deliberation in response to hormesis research. Human and Experimental Toxicology 27: 529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Feigl H. (1956) Some major issues and developments in the philosophy of science of logical empiricism. In: Feigl H., Scriven M. (eds) Foundations of science and the concepts of psychology and psychoanalysis, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  18. Feigl H., Brodbeck M. (1953) Readings in the philosophy of science. Appleton-Century-Crofts Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Frank J. (1949) The place of the expert in a democratic society. Philosophy of Science 16: 3–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Friedman M. (1974) Explanation and scientific understanding. Journal of Philosophy 71: 5–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Friedman M. (1996) Overcoming metaphysics: Carnap and Heidegger. In: Giere R., Feigl H. (eds) Origins of logical empiricism, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 45–79Google Scholar
  22. Frodeman, R., & C. Mitcham, (Eds.) (2004). Toward a Philosophy of Science Policy: Approaches and Issues. Special Issue of Philosophy Today, 48, 5.Google Scholar
  23. Gottshalk D. W. (1952) Value science. Philosophy of Science 19: 183–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Greenberg D. S. (1999) The politics of pure science. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  25. Greenberg D. S. (2001) Science, money, and politics: Political triumph and ethical erosion. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenberg D. S. (2007) Science for sale: The perils, rewards, and delusions of campus capitalism. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  27. Guston D. (2000) Between politics and science: Assuring the integrity and productivity of research. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Guston, D. (2004). Forget politicizing science. Let’s democratize science! Issues in Science and Technology (Fall Issue), 25–28.Google Scholar
  29. Hanson N. R. (1959) On the symmetry between explanation and prediction. Philosophical Review 68: 349–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hartman R. S. (1950) Is a science of ethics possible?. Philosophy of Science 17: 238–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hartman R. S. (1958) Value, fact, and science. Philosophy of Science 25: 97–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hartung F. E. (1947) Sociological foundations of modern science. Philosophy of Science 14: 68–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hartung F. E. (1951) Science as an institution. Philosophy of Science 18: 35–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hartung F. E. (1952) Problems of the sociology of knowledge. Philosophy of Science 19: 17–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Haworth L., Minas J. S. (1954) Concerning value science. Philosophy of Science 21: 54–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hempel, C. G. (1965). Science and human values. In Aspects of scientific explanation and other essays in the philosophy of science (pp. 81–96). New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  37. Hempel C. G., Oppenheim P. (1948) Studies in the logic of explanation. Philosophy of Science 15: 135–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hinshaw V. G. (1948) Epistemological relativism and the sociology of knowledge. Philosophy of Science 15: 4–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Howard D. (2003) Two left turns make a right: On the curious political career of North American philosophy of science at mid-century. In: Richardson A., Hardcastle G. (eds) Logical empiricism in North America, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 25–93Google Scholar
  40. Howard D. (2009) Better red than dead—Putting an end to the social irrelevance of postwar philosophy of science. Science and Education 18: 199–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kevles D. (1995) The physicists. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, CAGoogle Scholar
  42. Kitcher P. (1976) Explanation, conjunction, and unification. Journal of Philosophy 73: 207–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kitcher P. (1989) Explanatory unification and the causal structure of the world. In: Salmon W., Kitcher P. (eds) Scientific explanation, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 410–505Google Scholar
  44. Kitcher P. (2001) Science, truth, and democracy. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Krimsky S. (2003) Science in the private interest: Has the lure of profits corrupted biomedical research?. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  46. Krimsky S. (2005) The weight of scientific evidence in policy and law. American Journal of Public Health 95: S129–S136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kuhn, T. (1977). Objectivity, value, and theory choice. In The essential tension, (pp. 320–339). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  48. Lacey H. (1999) Is science value-free? Values and scientific understanding. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  49. Laudan L. (2004) The epistemic, the cognitive, and the social. In: Machamer P., Wolters G. (eds) Science, values, and objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, pp 14–23Google Scholar
  50. Levi I. (1960) Must the scientist make value judgments?. Journal of Philosophy 57: 345–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Levi I. (1962) On the seriousness of mistakes. Philosophy of Science 29: 47–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Linkov I., Looney D., Cormier S., Satterstrom F. K., Bridges T. (2009) Weight-of-evidence evaluation in environmental assessment: Review of qualitative and quantitative approaches. Science of the Total Environment 407: 5199–5205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lipton P. (2004) Inference to the best explanation (2nd ed.). Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Littauer S. B. (1954) Social aspects of scientific method in industrial production. Philosophy of Science 21: 93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Longino H. E. (2002) The fate of knowledge. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  56. Malisoff W. H. (1944) Editorial: Philosophy of Science after ten years. Philosophy of Science 11: 1–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. McMullin E. (1983) Values in science. In: Asquith P. D., Nickles T. (eds) Proceedings of the 1982 biennial meeting of the philosophy of science association. Philosophy of Science Association, East Lansing, pp 3–28Google Scholar
  58. Merton R. K. (1938) Science and the social order. Philosophy of Science 5: 321–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Merton R. K. (1949) The role of applied social science in the formation of policy. Philosophy of Science 16: 161–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Mitchell S. (2004) The prescribed and proscribed values in science policy. In: Machamer P., Wolters G. (eds) Science, values, and objectivity. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, pp 245–255Google Scholar
  61. Nagel E. (1961) The structure of science: Problems in the logic of scientific explanation. Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. Pielke R. (2007) The honest broker: Making sense of science in policy and politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  63. Reisch G. (2005) How the cold war transformed philosophy of science: To the icy slopes of logic. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Reisch G. (2009) Three kinds of political engagement for philosophy of science. Science and Education 18: 191–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rescher N. (1958) On explanation and prediction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 8: 281–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rescher N. (1963) Discrete state systems, Markov chains, and problems in the theory of scientific explanation and prediction. Philosophy of Science 30: 325–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Richardson A. W. (2002) Engineering philosophy of science: American pragmatism and logical empiricism in the 1930s. Philosophy of Science 69: S36–S47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Rudner R. (1953) The scientist qua scientist makes value judgments. Philosophy of Science 20: 1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Salmon W. (1989) Four decades of scientific explanation. University of Minnesota Press, MinneapolisGoogle Scholar
  70. Sarewitz D. (1996) Frontiers of illusion: Science, technology, and the politics of progress. Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PAGoogle Scholar
  71. Scheffler I. (1957) Explanation, prediction, and abstraction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 7: 293–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Scriven M. (1959) Explanation and prediction in evolutionary theory. Science 130: 477–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Shapin S. (2008) The scientific life. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  74. Shepard H. (1956) Basic research and the social system of pure science. Philosophy of Science 23: 48–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Shrader-Frechette K. (1991) Risk and rationality. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  76. Shrader-Frechette K. (1993) Burying uncertainty: Risk and the case against geological disposal of nuclear waste. University of California Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  77. Shrader-Frechette K. (1994) Ethics of scientific research. Rowan and Littlefield, Lanham, MDGoogle Scholar
  78. Simpson G. (1951) Science as morality. Philosophy of Science 18: 132–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Smith B. L. R. (1990) American science policy since world war II. Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
  80. Sober E. (1986) Philosophical problems for environmentalism. In: Norton B. (eds) The preservation of species. Princeton University Press, Princeton, pp 173–194Google Scholar
  81. Solomon M. (2001) Social empiricism. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  82. Suppes P. (1954) Some remarks on problems and methods in the philosophy of science. Philosophy of Science 21: 242–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Uebel T. (2009) Knowing who your friends are: Aspects of the politics of logical empiricism. Science and Education 18: 161–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Weed D. (2005) Weight of evidence: A review of concept and methods. Risk Analysis 25: 1545–1557CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations