Michigan State University

How should we understand the nature of science, the reliability of its methods and practices, and its role in democratic societies?  These are the central questions for socially engaged philosophy of science.  We approach these questions in a wide range of fields (e.g., biological sciences, environmental sciences, medicine, public health, agriculture) using an array of philosophical perspectives (e.g., concerning the proper place of values in science, the role of models and idealizations in science, the role for publics in science, the dynamics of interdisciplinary scientific teams, and the implications of ontologies). We work with scientists, policy makers, and members of the public to elucidate descriptive and normative issues central to science in society. 

Because of the important roles that science plays in contemporary society, we use tools from the philosophy of science to understand both descriptive and normative (epistemic, ethical, and political) aspects of science. We explore the nature of science, the reliability of its methods and practices, and its role in democratic societies while working in partnership with natural and social scientists, policy makers, and communities outside the academy.

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