Science & Education 28 (6-7):711-730 (2019)

Authors
Michael T. Stuart
National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University
Abstract
Imagination is necessary for scientific practice, yet there are no in vivo sociological studies on the ways that imagination is taught, thought of, or evaluated by scientists. This article begins to remedy this by presenting the results of a qualitative study performed on two systems biology laboratories. I found that the more advanced a participant was in their scientific career, the more they valued imagination. Further, positive attitudes toward imagination were primarily due to the perceived role of imagination in problem-solving. But not all problem-solving episodes involved clear appeals to imagination, only maximally specific problems did. This pattern is explained by the presence of an implicit norm governing imagination use in the two labs: only use imagination on maximally specific problems, and only when all other available methods have failed. This norm was confirmed by the participants, and I argue that it has epistemological reasons in its favour. I also found that its strength varies inversely with career stage, such that more advanced scientists do (and should) occasionally bring their imaginations to bear on more general problems. A story about scientific pedagogy explains the trend away from (and back to) imagination over the course of a scientific career. Finally, some positive recommendations are given for a more imagination-friendly scientific pedagogy.
Keywords scientific imagination  epistemology of imagination  imagination  science education  sociology of science
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1007/s11191-019-00067-9
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Mental Imagery: In Search of a Theory.Zenon W. Pylyshyn - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (2):157-182.
How Do Scientists Think? Capturing the Dynamics of Conceptual Change in Science.Nancy Nersessian - 1992 - In R. Giere & H. Feigl (eds.), Cognitive Models of Science. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 3--45.

View all 26 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Duhem on Good Sense and Theory Pursuit: From Virtue to Social Epistemology.Jamie Shaw - 2020 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 33 (2):67-85.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Imagination: A Sine Qua Non of Science.Michael T. Stuart - 2017 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy (49):9-32.
Science and the Imagination in the Age of Reason.R. Downie - 2001 - Medical Humanities 27 (2):58-63.
Morality as Art: Dewey, Metaphor, and Moral Imagination.Steven Fesmire - 1999 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 35 (3):527-550.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2019-08-18

Total views
149 ( #70,833 of 2,448,174 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
30 ( #23,307 of 2,448,174 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes