Toward Philosophy of Science’s Social Engagement

Erkenntnis 79 (Suppl 5):901-916 (2013)
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Abstract

In recent years, philosophy of science has witnessed a significant increase in attention directed toward the field’s social relevance. This is demonstrated by the formation of societies with related agendas, the organization of research symposia, and an uptick in work on topics of immediate public interest. The collection of papers that follows results from one such event: a 3-day colloquium on the subject of socially engaged philosophy of science held at the University of Cincinnati in October 2012. In this introduction, we first survey the recent history of philosophy of science’s social involvement and contrast this with the much greater social involvement of the sciences themselves. Next, we argue that the field of philosophy of science bears a special responsibility to contribute to public welfare. We then introduce as a term of art “SEPOS” and articulate what we take to be distinctive about social engagement, with reference to the articles in this collection as exemplars. Finally, we survey the current state of social engagement in philosophy of science and suggest some practical steps for individuals and institutions to support this trajectory.

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Author Profiles

Angela Potochnik
University of Cincinnati
Francis Cartieri
University of Cincinnati