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Social Epistemology of Science Reading Group

This reading group aims to look at some of the important themes in contemporary social epistemology of science – including, but not limited to division of cognitive labour, the mechanisms driving novelty versus conservatism in science, the incentive structures in which scientists are embedded, and the gender productivity gap in scientific research. These themes connect to many issues in integrated HPS, therefore we believe the group will offer a platform for productive intellectual exchange in the Department and beyond.

When: Fridays 10am
Where: Seminar Room 2

Organisers: Olesya Bondarenko and Lukas Beck
Faculty sponsor: Anna Alexandrova

Michaelmas Term 2019

18 October: Division of epistemic labour and cognitive diversity

  • Kitcher, P. (1990). The division of cognitive labor. The Journal of Philosophy, 87(1), 5–22.
  • Zollman, K. J. (2010). The epistemic benefit of transient diversity. Erkenntnis, 72(1), 17.

25 October: Conservatism in science (1st session)

  • Kummerfeld, E., & Zollman, K.J. (2015). Conservatism and the scientific state of nature. The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 67(4), 1057–1076.
  • Stanford, P.K. (2015). Unconceived alternatives and conservatism in science: The impact of professionalization, peer-review, and big science. Synthese, 1–18.

1 November: Conservatism in science (2nd session)

  • Azoulay, P., Fons-Rosen, C., & Graff Zivin, J.S. (2019). Does science advance one funeral at a time? American Economic Review, 109(8), 2889–2920.
  • Jones, B.F. (2009). The burden of knowledge and the 'death of the renaissance man': Is innovation getting harder? The Review of Economic Studies, 76(1), 283–317.

8 November: Priority rule and incentives system in science

  • Azoulay, P., Graff Zivin, J.S., & Manso, G. (2011). Incentives and creativity: evidence from the academic life sciences. The RAND Journal of Economics, 42(3), 527–554.
  • Strevens, M. (2003). The role of the priority rule in science. The Journal of Philosophy, 100(2), 55–79.

15 November: Gender productivity gap in academia

  • Bright, L.K. (2017). Decision theoretic model of the productivity gap. Erkenntnis, 82(2), 421–442.
  • Discussion: Gender publication gap in philosophy of science

22 November: Problems of social epistemological modelling

  • Frey, D., & Šešelja, D. (2018). What is the epistemic function of highly idealized agent-based models of scientific inquiry? Philosophy of the Social Sciences, 48(4), 407–433.
  • Muldoon, R., & Weisberg, M. (2011). Robustness and idealization in models of cognitive labor. Synthese, 183(2), 161–174.

29 November: Social epistemology's marriage with economics

  • Mirowski, P. (1997). On playing the economics trump card in the philosophy of science: Why it did not work for Michael Polanyi. Philosophy of Science, 64, S127–S138.
  • Hands, D.W. (1997). Caveat emptor: Economics and contemporary philosophy of science. Philosophy of Science, 64, S107–S116.

6 December

  • Open – readings to be decided by participants