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Associate Professor



Heather Douglas joined MSU’s Department of Philosophy in the Fall of 2018. Her research focuses on the relationship between science and democracy, including the role of social and ethical values in science, the nature of scientists’ responsibility in and for science, and science-policy interfaces such as science advising, science funding, responsible research oversight/cultivation, and science communication. She is interested in how citizens can and should interact with science, including the bases for citizens’ trust in scientists. She has also worked on the nature of objectivity in science and how to weigh complex, non-convergent sets of evidence.

She is the author of dozens of articles and essays, several edited collections, The Rightful Place of Science: Science, Values, and Democracy (2021), and Science, Policy and the Value-Free Ideal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009). She is a fellow of the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science Group at MSU. In 2016, she was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. For 2021-2022, she is the Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh.

She is interested in and willing to direct graduate work, particularly involving philosophical approaches to science policy issues or philosophy of science work with clear science policy implications. Her recent graduate seminars include Values in Science (2020), Science, Citizens, and Democracy (2020), and The Commercialization of Science (2019). Past and current graduate student projects she has directed/is directing include: Ty Branch’s Contextualizing Science for Value-Conscious Communication (2019) Char Brecevic’s Patient Nonadherence: Imagining a Way Forward

For more about her work, see: