“Practice-Oriented Controversies and Borrowed Epistemic Credibility in Current Evolutionary Biology: Phylogeography as a Case Study

Perspectives on Science 25 (3):310-334 (2017)

Alfonso Arroyo-Santos
National Autonomous University of Mexico
Philosophical treatments of scientific controversies usually focus on theory, excluding important practice related aspects. However, scientists in conflict often appeal to extra-theoretical and extra-empirical elements. To understand better the role that non-empirical elements play in scientific controversies, we introduce the notion of borrowed epistemic credibility, illustrating our proposal with a recent controversy in a field of evolutionary biology known as phylogeography. Our analysis shows how scientific controversies that spring from disagreements about methodological issues potentially involve deeper debates regarding what constitutes good science, prompting the re-examination of more general issues, such as the nature of inference, rationality, and objectivity
Keywords Scientific controversies  Phylogeography  Evolutionary biology  Borrowed-epistemic credibility
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Reprint years 2013, 2014, 2017
DOI 10.1162/POSC_a_00174
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