, Volume 177, Issue 3, pp 301–316 | Cite as

Socially relevant philosophy of science: an introduction



This paper provides an argument for a more socially relevant philosophy of science (SRPOS). Our aims in this paper are to characterize this body of work in philosophy of science, to argue for its importance, and to demonstrate that there are significant opportunities for philosophy of science to engage with and support this type of research. The impetus of this project was a keen sense of missed opportunities for philosophy of science to have a broader social impact. We illustrate various ways in which SRPOS can provide social benefits, as well as benefits to scientific practice and philosophy itself. Also, SRPOS is consistent with some historical and contemporary goals of philosophy of science. We’re calling for an expansion of philosophy of science to include more of this type of work. In order to support this expansion, we characterize philosophy of science as an epistemic community and examine the culture and practices of philosophy of science that can help or hinder research in this area.


Philosophy of science Socially relevant philosophy of science Epistemic communities Social epistemology 


  1. Acker J. (1990) Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society 4(2): 139–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cartwright N., Cat J., Fleck L., Uebel T. (1996) Otto Neurath: Philosophy between science and politics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fuller S. (2008) Science studies goes public: A report on an ongoing performance. Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science 2(1): 11–21Google Scholar
  4. Giere R. (2003) A new program for philosophy of science? Philosophy of Science 70: 15–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Haslanger S. (2008) Changing the ideology and culture of philosophy: Not by reason (alone). Hypatia 23(2): 210–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hearn J., Parkin W. (1983) Gender and organizations: A selective review and a critique of a neglected area. Organization Studies 4(3): 219–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Howard D. (2003) Two left turns make a right: On the curious political career of North American philosophy of science at midcentury. In: Richardson A., Hardcastle G. (eds) Logical empiricism in North America, Minnesota studies in the philosophy of science (Vol XVIII). University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp 25–93Google Scholar
  8. 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
  9. Kanter R. M. (1977) Men and women of the corporation. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Keller E. F. (1996) Feminism and science. In: Keller E. F., Longino H. E. (eds) Feminism and science. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 28–40Google Scholar
  11. Kourany J. A. (2003a) A philosophy of science for the twenty-first century. Philosophy of Science 70: 1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kourany J. A. (2003b) Reply to Giere. Philosophy of Science 70: 22–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kourany J. A. (2010) Philosophy of science after feminism. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Longino H. E. (1990) Science as social knowledge: Values and objectivity in scientific inquiry. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  15. Longino H. E. (2002) The fate of knowledge. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Centre for Knowledge IntegrationUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

Personalised recommendations