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  Subjects -> PHILOSOPHY (Total: 762 journals)
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Spontaneous Generations : A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science
Number of Followers: 3  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Print) 1913-0465
Published by U of Toronto Homepage  [41 journals]
  • Experts, Managerialism, and Democratic Theory

    • Authors: Mott Greene
      Pages: 1 - 21
      Abstract: The revolt against expertise is a novel aspect of a larger and longer-standing discontent with the power of managerial elites within modern democracies. In the United States, scientific expertise is contested adversarially on the model of a public trial. In broadcast media, expert disagreement proceeds via staged debates with opposing sides (generally representing extremes of more complex debates) arguing scientific questions bearing on public policy. By the mid-20th century many observers agreed that this broadcast format had transformed the active ‘public’ – the target audience of these debates – into a passive ‘mass society’ that could listen to or view them, but had few or no means, outside of electoral politics, to engage with them. Two recent developments have challenged the traditional approach to public debates of scientific expertise, and challenged that expertise itself. The first is the rapid privatization of science since about 1980, changing public perception of scientists from disinterested servants of truth to spokespersons for government or economic interests. The second (since about 2007) is the combination of the universality of smartphones and direct access to internet discussion platforms not controlled by managerial elites, which have transformed the mute ‘mass’ into a highly vocal assortment of selforganizing publics (like those imagined in classical democratic theory) demanding to be heard directly on scientific questions. The matter of who now is a scientific expert, for whom, and under what circumstances, is a pressing question for historians, philosophers, and sociologists of science.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38194
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • The Best Popular Science

    • Authors: Gregory Schrempp
      Pages: 22 - 26
      Abstract: Strategies of persuasion tapped in popular science writing are discussed under the assumption that effective science education and communication can offer antidotes to the revolt against expertise. It is argued that popular science can weaken the experience of science even while attempting to enhance it. Topics discussed include gimmickry, efforts at science-art fusions, and other contemporary mythologizing moves as well as the relationship between science and the humanities generally. Steven Weinberg’s modern classic The First Three Minutes is explored as an example of successful popular science communication.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38179
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Expertise, a Framework for our Most Characteristic Asset and Most Basic

    • Authors: Cliff Hooker, Claire Hooker, Giles Hooker
      Pages: 27 - 35
      Abstract: This essay provides a framework of concepts and principles suitable for systematic discussion of issues surrounding expertise. Expertise creates inequality. Its multiple benefits and the creativity of technology lead to a society replete with expertises. The basic binds of expertise derive from the desire of non-experts to be able to both enjoy what expertise offers and insure that it is exercised in the social interest. This involves trusting the exercise of expertise, involuntarily or voluntarily. A healthy society provides various means to move trust from involuntary to voluntary. The social means for achieving this are laid out. The purpose of this short essay is to briefly lay out a conceptual framework within which to construct, clarify, evaluate and apply expertises. It is not to promote some particular notion of expertise over others, or to review the vast literatures, such as that on trust in science, that make up the domain. A few notes on one work towards this essay’s close may indicate what a major, and expert, process this would be.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38196
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Mistrust in Numbers

    • Authors: Gil Eyal
      Pages: 36 - 46
      Abstract: This paper characterizes the crisis of expertise, especially as it manifested during the covid-19 pandemic, as a crisis of trust in regulatory science. The temporal structure of the facts produced by regulatory science differs from Kuhnian “normal science,” while they also contain profound distributional implications. As a result, they suffer from a set of congenital problems that provoke mistrust in a way that normal science facts do not. While “expertise” is often offered as an answer to these problems, the paper shows that it is a symptom of the malaise, reflecting a situation where it is no longer clear how to decide between competing claims to authority as experts. The current mistrust in experts and regulatory science during the pandemic, therefore, is part of a longer and systemic crisis of expertise provoked and sustained by multiple factors. The paper then offers an unsystematic set of rules of method to observe when addressing the thorny issues involving trust and mistrust: 1) trust is not a subjective attitude that can be measured by a survey; 2) mistrust is not the opposite of trust; 3) trust is a social skill involving a set of ethnomethods for distinguishing between responsible and “blind” trust; 4) attention to temporal framing is key to these methods; 5) disruption of this temporal framing – as routinely happens with regulatory facts, and especially during the pandemic – destroys trust.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38197
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • The Two Virtues of Science

    • Authors: Stephen John
      Pages: 47 - 53
      Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was disagreement over whether the science supported facemask mandates. This paper interrogates debates over this question, paying particular attention to an ambiguity between two scientific virtues: epistemic caution and epistemic responsiveness. I suggest that there is an argument from each virtue to reasons to trust scientists’ claims in policy debate. However, as the case of facemask debates illustrates, it is not clear that scientists can possess both virtues simultaneously: the two virtues are in tension. After showing how this general framework can help us better understand debate, I turn to consider some possible ways of resolving this tension, arguing that none of them is entirely satisfactory.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38199
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Space-Time and Utopia

    • Authors: Brittany Myburgh
      Pages: 54 - 62
      Abstract: Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, artists and scholars have pursued connections between modern art movements and scientific exploration and expertise. Particularly in discussions of Cubism and Futurism, artists and historians have employed the terms ‘fourth dimension’, ‘simultaneity’, and ‘space-time’ in their artistic theories. Select scholars have connected the use of these terms with Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity. This paper presents brief notes on this perceived intersection between Western science and art during the early to mid-twentieth century. It focuses on the Bauhaus master Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, for whom ideas of “space-time” offered new and dynamic possibilities for art and perception. Rather than solely trying to interpret or represent Einstein’s theories in art, Moholy-Nagy considered the artistic implications of a theory that challenged the notion of absolute time and space. His writing on technology and the use of projected light to produce spatial modulation greatly impacted subsequent generations of artists. Moholy-Nagy also viewed greater collaboration within the disciplines of science and art as necessary. He argued that in order to best respond to the twentieth century a new generation of artists must be equipped with both technical and scientific expertise.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38200
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Handservant of Technocracy

    • Authors: Christian Ross
      Pages: 63 - 87
      Abstract: The place of scientific expertise in democracy has become increasingly disputed, raising question who ought to have a say in decision-making about science and technology, with what authority, and for what reasons. Public engagement has become a common refrain in technoscientific discussions to address tensions in the rightful roles of experts and the public in democratic decision-making. However, precisely what public engagement entails, who it involves, how it is performed, and to what extent it is desirable for democratic societies remain contested matters. Nevertheless, strong commitments to greater public engagement in the governance of science and technology persist. This essay examines expert discussions about heritable human genome editing beginning from the 2015 International Summit on Human Genome Editing through the controversies surrounding of the first CRISPR-edited humans in late 2018 and the subsequent renewed calls for a moratorium on heritable human genome editing. I examine these discussions as example cases in which the right relations among experts, the public, and technoscientific decision-making are actively reconfigured. I argue that rather than expanding the range of included stakeholders, public engagement serves as an enabling handservant of technocracy that reinforces the position of scientific experts in decision-making as both epistemic and normative authorities.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38201
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Philosophizing Together

    • Authors: Rashad Rehman
      Pages: 88 - 97
      Abstract: Philosophers have various responsibilities. Articulating these responsibilities, however, is contingent on what one means by “philosophy” and what philosophers have “expertise” in. Responsible philosophers must therefore interact with the following kinds of questions: What do philosophers have expertise in' What responsibilities do philosophers have as intellectual experts, and to whom are they responsible' What are philosophers supposed to know and be able to publicly convey' What is the role of a philosopher in contributing to local, institutional, and global responsibilities' This paper concerns itself with defending and articulating one such responsibility philosophers have: the invitation to others to engage in philosophizing. Using Josef Pieper’s (1904-97) life and writings as paradigmatically embodying this invitational-approach to philosophy, this paper articulates – by means of stories from his life – how this approach to philosophizing is pedagogically effective for instructors and students of philosophy i.e., in making philosophy worthwhile, accessible and relevant.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38202
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • How (not) to Build an Expert

    • Authors: Robert Naylor
      Pages: 98 - 106
      Abstract: The social contributors to the formation of expertise are often a taboo subject when practitioner communities interact with outsiders, making the exploration of these inputs a difficult endeavour. When exploring scientific communities, one resource that many STS and HSTM scholars can draw from is their personal experience as students of science – experts in waiting. I will draw on my personal experience as a physics student at a Russel Group university from 2014 to 2018, with a year abroad at a US institution. The UK physics course instilled in me an image of physics expertise that is hyper-specialised, apolitical, and ‘pure’. This was achieved through the choice of curriculum, the content of internal displays, and the culture of the department as mediated by informal interactions. This vision of expertise resonates with corporate entities whose interests are in experts that can function as stable commodities, rather than volatile political actors.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38203
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Reinventing Expertise in the History of Psychiatry and Eugenics

    • Authors: Erika Dyck
      Pages: 107 - 112
      Abstract: This reflection piece considers how expertise has been generated within the history of madness, disability, eugenics, psychiatry and anti-psychiatry. As numerous scholars and critics have pointed out, the power of rational argumentation can be persuasive, while its absence can be pathologized. Yet, in the fields of madness studies and critical disability studies we can see many examples of how the dividing line between normal and pathological states have been contested, especially where those categories correspond with notions of expertise, experience, and insight. This short paper reflects on these themes and draws from a selection of research case studies, in the hopes of encouraging other scholars to take up these questions in their own work to destabilize concepts of expertise as fixed categories of ability and skill. Instead, I use these examples to promote a more complex and diverse way of interpreting expressions of dissent as potential forms of expertise.
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38206
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Between Pedantry and Populism

    • Authors: Axel Gelfert
      Pages: 113 - 122
      Abstract: .
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38207
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Strange Trips: Science, Culture, and the Regulation of Drugs

    • Authors: Sergio Sismondo
      Pages: 123 - 124
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History

    • Authors: Bethany Johnson
      Pages: 125 - 128
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Environmental Expertise. Connecting Science, Policy, and Society

    • Authors: Elodie Charrière
      Pages: 129 - 131
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38212
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Challenging Choices: Canada’s Population Control in the

    • Authors: Vincent Auffrey
      Pages: 132 - 134
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38213
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

    • Authors: Lissette Lorenz
      First page: 135
      PubDate: 2022-03-11
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38214
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of The Information Manifold: Why Computers Can't Solve
           Algorithmic Bias and Fake News

    • Authors: Jeff Pooley
      Pages: 138 - 139
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38218
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Why Trust Science'

    • Authors: Christopher Stephens
      Pages: 140 - 144
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38220
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
  • Review of Expertise: an Introduction

    • Authors: Joseph van Weelden
      Pages: 145 - 148
      PubDate: 2022-03-03
      DOI: 10.4245/spongen.v10i1.38221
      Issue No: Vol. 10, No. 1 (2022)
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