Areas of Research at a Glance:
- Philosophy of Science
- Science and Values
- History of Philosophy of Science
- John Dewey
- Paul Feyerabend
- Epistemology of Science
- Philosophy of Physics
- History and Philosophy of Psychology & Cognitive Science
- Philosophy and Politics of Climate Science
- Philosophy of Mind / Cognitive Science
- The role of the social, culture, environment, and technology in mind and cognition.
- Science as a case of socially distributed cognition
- Moral psychology of teams using socially situated/distributed cognition
- American Pragmatism
- John Dewey’s Logic and Philosophy of Science
In my research, I am mainly concerned with the interaction of science (including technology and medicine) with values (including ethics, politics, and culture.) My work in philosophy of science and science studies is thus mainly concerned with the interactions of science and ethics, politics, and policy. I am especially concerned to uncover the ways in which science is a value-laden enterprise, the impact of the value-ladenness of science on our conception of the role of science in policy, and the parallels between scientific and technological, ethical and political inquiries.
My work in philosophy of science is strongly engaged with the history of philosophy of science, particularly with the work of John Dewey and Paul Feyerabend, who, among other things, were two early significant defenders of a radical view of science as value-laden.
My conception of philosophy of science is that it should be the analysis of scientific practice rather than merely scientific theories and reports. (Of course, theories, theory construction, and theory choice are all central elements of scientific practice.) As philosophers of science, we should be engaged with the history of science and contemporary scientific practice, and thus in dialogue with science studies. In my own work, I am engaged with scientific practice in several long-term projects.
As for my future research, I have several works in progress related to issues of science, values, and politics. One project is an investigation of these issues through a detailed case study of the disconnection between science and policy concerning global climate change. I am pursuing this project in collaboration with a philosopher of biology, Joyce C. Havstad, currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Field Museum in Chicago. Another project is in the history and philosophy of psychology, investigating the work of William Moulton Marston, a prominent theoretical, experimental, and forensic psychologist from early twentieth century. Marston’s psychological work proceeded in interaction with his radical feminist values, and his later career was devoted to popularizing his psychology and his psychologically-based program of social reform. I have had the honor of being invited to contribute an article on “John Dewey’s Philosophy of Science” to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and a “state of the field” article on “Science, Values, and Politics” to Studies in History and Philosophy of Science. I expect both of these invited papers to spur further development of my research and writing in these areas.
Much of the future direction of my research, beyond what I have already mentioned, will be related to the work of our NSF grant project on engineering ethics. On the basis of my background research for the grant, as well as my longstanding interest in sociocultural theories of cognition, I am currently finishing up a paper on the historical background of situated cognition and learning theories, arguing that an integration of ideas from John Dewey and Jean Lave provides a fruitful theoretical lens and set of methodological tools for research. On the basis of the first year of research, we are discussing aspects of implicit understanding of ethics as well as an analysis of common strategies for deflecting responsibility and avoiding ethical reflection among engineering students.
In addition to this work in philosophy, history, and social studies of science, I am also interest in the role of culture in science, particular in psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience. In my view, human cognition is a deeply cultural phenomenon, and human culture is in part a cognitive phenomenon.