Conference: Cognitive Attitudes and Values in Science

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Location: TBD

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Click here for the conference website.

The motivation for this conference stems from the conviction that recent philosophical scholarship on the range of cognitive attitudes available to scientists and the differences between them (consider, e.g., believing, accepting, entertaining, conjecturing, supposing, etc.) could prove valuable for enriching the literature on values and science. For example, disputes over the proper roles for non-epistemic values in responding to situations of underdetermination might be clarified by analyzing the range of cognitive attitudes available to scientists in such situations (e.g., belief vs. acceptance) and the sorts of values that are relevant when adopting particular attitudes. The literature on values in science might also be strengthened by reflecting on the cognitive attitudes that scientists adopt toward simplified models or toward technoscientific artifacts and the sorts of epistemic, ethical, and pragmatic values that promote the aims associated with those attitudes. Related questions concern the cognitive attitudes that scientists adopt when they propound claims as voices of authority in policy contexts and the sorts of values that become relevant to their work as a result.

Questions that we would like to consider at the conference include the following:

(1) What are the major cognitive attitudes that scientists have employed and that they could employ? How should these attitudes be individuated, defined, and characterized?

(2) Which cognitive attitudes are most appropriate to take toward particular products of scientific activity (e.g., models, hypotheses, technoscientific objects, claims made for regulatory purposes, etc.)?

(3) What criteria are available for evaluating whether the cognitive attitudes adopted by scientists in particular contexts are appropriate?

(4) What categories of values (e.g., epistemic, ethical, and pragmatic) promote the aims associated with particular cognitive attitudes?

(5) In what ways can and should scientists clarify their cognitive attitudes in scientific papers, in assessments used for policy purposes, and in communication with the public?

(6) How can the analysis of cognitive attitudes promote more sophisticated approaches to delineating the proper roles for values in science?

(7) How can the analysis of cognitive attitudes promote more sophisticated communication between scientists, policy makers, and members of the public?

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Originally published at reilly.nd.edu.