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Sabina Leonelli, Data-centric biology: a philosophical study, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016, 275 pp., $35/24.5

  • Pierre-Luc Germain
Book Review
  • 59 Downloads

Data-Centric Biology, which received the 2018 Lakatos award, fits squarely with Sabina Leonelli’s ‘empirical philosophy of science’: it pays attention to actors and practices without losing touch with more abstract or general issues in the philosophy of science. At the core of the book is a philosophical view of data, which is seen as a relational category, applicable to portable (though not immutable) research outputs that have or are expected to have evidential value for knowledge claims. A key feature of data-centrism is then, for Leonelli, the recognition that this evidential value is underdetermined, i.e. that we cannot say in advance what claims any given data may bear upon. This prospective and open nature of data has a number of consequences on how it is to be dealt with, which much of the book sets out to explore.

The first is an inherent pluralism in data dissemination: making data travel implies much more than just sharing, but a diversification of its evidential value....

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.D-HEST Institute for NeurosciencesETH ZürichZurichSwitzerland

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