SEPOS Visiting Speaker February 9, 2024

Professor of Philosophy at the University of British Columbia.

Alison Wylie

“How Knowers Know Well: Standpoint Theory and Achievement Thesis”

Alison Wylie is the Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of the Social and Historical Sciences. She has a long-standing interest in philosophical questions raised by archaeology, feminist theory, and collaborative research practice. She works with the indigenous/Science research network at UBC and the Center for Braiding indigenous Knowledges and Science.

SEPOS Visting Speaker January 12, 2024

Professor of Philosophy at the Leibniz University of Hanover.

Dr. Uljana Feest

“Machine learning and Algorithmic Bias in Personality Research”

Dr. Feest studied psychology, philosophy and history and philosophy of science (HPS) in Frankfurt, Bristol and Pittsburgh. After completing her Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) and then held a position as assistant professor at the Technische Universität (TU) Berlin.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker October 6, 2023

Professor at the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, at SUNY Upstate medical University.

Dr. Şerife Tekin 

“Virtues of the Multitudinous Self Model in Psychiatry”

Dr. Tekin’s work in philosophy of psychiatry takes place at the cusp of philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and bioethics. She wrote on topics spanning the place of the self in science, the role of patient narratives in psychiatric research and mental healthcare, ethical issues arising in medical applications of artificial intelligence, and the value of medical humanities education for health professionals.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker April, 28, 2023

Ph.D. Student in philosophy of science at the University of Cambridge.

Ahmad El Abbar

“Removing Climate Knowledge: Structural Injustice in Climate Assessment”

Ahmad El Abbar’s research explores the ways in which the distribution of climate knowledge raises concerns of justice. In Spring 2023, he visited the Institute for Practical Ethics at UC San Diego as a Fulbright Scholar.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker April, 14, 2023

Ph.D. Student in philosophy of climate science and policy at the University of Kentucky.

Ryan McCoy

“The Role of Local Knowledge in Climate Research”

Ryan McCoy research focuses on the use of local knowledge within climate research through transdisciplinary and citizen science initiatives.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker March 31, 2023

Professor of philosophy at UCLA (2022–present), Middlebury College in Vermont (2006–2022).

Dr. Kareem Khalifa

“How Value-Landen are Segregation Indices?”

Dr. Khalifa’s research interests include general philosophy of science, philosophy of social science, and epistemology. In addition to authoring over 30 articles, he authored the book, Understanding, Explanation, and Scientific Knowledge (Cambridge, 2017) and co-edited Scientific Understanding and Representation: Modeling in the Physical Sciences (Routledge, 2022). He is currently extending his previous work in these areas to social-scientific conceptions of race and segregation. He is currently a Future of Truth Fellow at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute. In 2025, he will be the Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Philosophy of Science. In 2017, he received the American Council of Learned Societies’ Burkhardt Award, which funded a five-year project, Explanation as Inferential Practice.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker February 17, 2023

Professor of Philosophy and affiliate faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Julia Bursten 

Epistemology in Agricultural Extension

Dr. Bursten’s research explores the mechanics of scientific knowledge in oddball and under-explored sciences, like nano science and agricultural science. She writes for both philosophical and scientific audiences, and her work has been published in journals including Nature Nanotechnology, Philosophy of Science, and Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker February 18, 2022

Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Matthew J. Brown

“Trust, Expertise and Scientific Authority in Democracy”

Matthew J. Brown is Director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology and Program Head of History and Philosophy at the University of Dallas at Texas. He is the author of Science and Moral Imagination: A New Ideal for Values in Science.

SEPOS Work in Progress Session March 2021

Michiga State University.

Isaac Record

“‘Post’ Truth: Epistemically Toxic Content Online”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, February 19, 2021 2:00-4:00pm EST, Zoom

University of British Columbia.

Stephanie Harvard

“Science & Social Values: Values in Modeling”

A 7-part video series on scientific modeling and social values, with a focus on health economics. 

SEPOS Visiting Speaker Friday, January 22, 2021 4:00-6:00 EST, Zoom

University of Guelph.

Maya J. Goldenberg

“A War on Science: Rethinking Vaccine Hesitancy and Refusal”

Because vaccine hesitancy has been framed as a problem of public misunderstanding of science, vaccine outreach has focused on educating the misguided publics. Where efforts to change vaccine attitudes have failed, cynicism has bred the harsher view that the publics are anti-science and anti-expertise. Yet research into science and the publics lends strong support to the view that public attitudes regarding scientific claims turn crucially on epistemic trust rather than engagement with science itself. It follows that it is poor trust in the expert sources that engender vaccine hesitancy. This consideration redraws the lines of responsibility, where vaccine hesitancy signals a problem with scientific governance rather than a problem with the wayward publics. In order to improve vaccine communications, we should focus on building that trust rather than educating the misinformed publics or puzzling over the moral and epistemic failings of the publics. Doing this does not discount that public health agencies have the science on their sides. It does mean recognizing that the best science is not enough to ensure public uptake of health recommendations.

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, January 15, 2021

Emily LaRosa (UCSD)

The TinMan™  Has a Heart: How HCAI Can Meet Population Needs and Address Care Inequities

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Thursday, December 3, 2020

Megan Halperin and Kevin Elliott (MSU)

Science as Experience: A Deweyan Model of Science Communication

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, November 6, 2020

Don Howard (Notre Dame)

Expertise and Responsibility: Why the Possession of Specialist Knowledge Entails an Obligation to Moral and Political Action

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, October 30, 2020

Greg Lusk and Kevin Elliott (MSU)

“Non-Epistemic Values and Hypothesis Assessment: An Adequacy-for-Purpose View”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, October 9, 2020

“The Social View of Evidence”

Ravi Dotan (Berkeley)

Public Engagement with Science: Defining and Measuring Success workshop, to be held September 10-12, 2020. For more information, please contact Heather Douglas, organizer of the conference.

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Thursday, April 30, 2020

Ravi Dotan (Berkeley)

“Resistance to Evidence”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Thursday, April 23, 2020

Charlene Brecevic (Notre Dame)

“The Sex-Gender Distinction in Biomedical Research – A Response to Byrne and Bogardus”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Monday, March 23, 2020


Bennett Holman (Underwood International College, Yonsei University)

What me worry?  Research Policy and the open embrace of industry-academia relations

SEPOS Visiting Speaker Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Bennett Holman (Underwood International College, Yonsei University)

“On Bias in Science”

The standard definition of bias holds that it is a systematic deviation from the truth.  I will argue that giving up the value-free ideal of science necessitates a move away from this definition.  For example, the precautionary principle requires us to keep a potentially unsafe chemical off the market even at the expense of mistakenly restricting access to greater number of chemicals that are safe. Yet numerous philosophers have argued that the inaccuracy induced by the precautionary principle is an appropriate infusion of values into science (e.g., Heather Douglas, Kevin Elliott, Justin Biddle, Daniel Steel, etc.).  Moreover, there seem to be cases of epistemically problematic practices that do not result in a systematic deviation from the truth.  For example, a pharmaceutical company that compares a standard dosage of their drug to a suboptimal dose of their competitors seems to be a clear case of bias. Yet though the results may be misleading, so long as the dosages are reported, the results are accurate (i.e., “unbiased”). I offer a definition of bias that classifies the use of the precautionary principle as unbiased and the rigged drug trial as biased, and sorts through a number of other similar tricky cases.  In so doing, I suggest this conception of bias prepares the ground to differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable roles for values in science, what Torsten Wilholt and I have proposed to call “The New Demarcation Problem”.

SEPOS Visiting Speaker Friday, February 7, 2020 3-5pm 109SKH

Joyce C. Havstad (Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Oakland University)

“The Sensational Science of Human Prehistory: High Inductive Risk and Low Epistemic Standards”

Some scientific notions are sensational. Counted among these are speculations about our own, human origins from within various interacting populations of archaic hominins.  When we evolved, where we came from, who we had sex with… these are all topics of enduring, popular interest.  Recent scientific study of these matters—especially relating to the Denisova, a purportedly novel population of archaic hominins—is both technically stunning and socially reckless.  Here I urge the relevant scientists to consider what responsibilities they incur when erring in their scientific pronouncements about the relative contributions of the Denisovato the genome of apparent sub-populations of current humans.  Since there is obvious, demonstrable risk of error in this case, these scientists ought to anticipate their corresponding responsibility, and I offer a proposal for how they might fulfill it.

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, Jan 17, 2020 12-2pm 523SKH

Heather Douglas (MSU)

“Scientific Freedom and Social Responsibility”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Wednesday, Jan 8, 2020 2-2:30pm 530SKH

Alysha Kassam (UC, Irvine)

“Uncertainty and Risk Surrounding the Application of Social Models”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Monday, Dec 2, 2019 1-3pm 530SKH

Greg Lusk (MSU)

“Data Centrism in Regional Modeling”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Friday, Nov 22, 2019 1-3pm 530SKH

Paul Thompson (MSU)

“Environmental Risks of Next Generation Biotechnology: Philosophical Considerations”

SEPOS Work in Progress Session Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019 3-5pm 523SKH

Katie Plaisance (University of Waterloo) and Kevin Elliott (MSU) 

“A Framework for Understanding Engaged Philosophy of Science” 

SEPOS Visiting Speaker Friday, September 20, 2019 3-5pm 530SKH

George Reisch (Managing Editor of The Monist and Series Editor for Popular Culture and Philosophy)

“The Structure of a Political Disengagement: On Thoas Kuhn, James B. Conant, and the Place of History of Science in Postwar America”

More than any other text in the history and philosophy of science, Thomas Kuhn’sThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions shaped the nature, values, and boundaries of American scholarship about science in the last half of the twentieth century. Questions about whether and how science studies are, or can become, socially engaged can therefore profit by considering the origins and development of Structureprior to its publication in 1962. This talk examines how Kuhn’s early theorizing about science followed Harvard President James B. Conant’s vision of history of science as a core component of American postwar education. In the context of the cold war, however, and in some ways because of that context, I will argue that Kuhn theorized a different vision for understanding science, one that firmly separates scientific values and progress from social values and progress. While Structurebecame famous for its provocative claim that scientists trained under the competing paradigms live in “different worlds,” it was arguably Kuhn’s view that professional scientists live in worlds different than their fellow citizens that helped to disengage postwar history and philosophy of science from issues concerning economics and social welfare.

MSU was proud to host the 10th Annual Science of Team Science (SciTS) Conference, held May 20-23, 2019. The SciTS conference is the annual international forum dedicated to SciTS, bringing together thought leaders from a broad range of disciplines and fields, including: communications, management, social and behavioral sciences, information technology, systems science, and translational research.  Michael O’Rourke is the Conference Chair.

The Commercialization of Science Mini-Conference, Wednesday April 17, 2019 12-3pm 530SKH. Light refreshments will be provided. Contact Heather Douglas for more details.