Author Information: Daniel P. Miller, Virginia Tech, millerdp@vt.edu

Miller, Daniel P. “SIREN 2015 Lecture Review: Nuclear Leadership.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 8 (2015): 1-6.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2cW

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research_reactor

Image credit: Don McCullough, via flickr

“Good ideas are not adopted automatically. They must be driven into practice with courageous impatience.”—Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

The fifth lecture of the Seminar on Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Nuclear Emergency Response (SIREN), “Fukushima: An International Wake-Up Call,” was given by retired U.S. Navy Admiral James O. Ellis in May 2015. SIREN is sponsored by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant that is bringing together international experts on nuclear power plants to consider innovative ways to address nuclear emergencies. SIREN is hosted by Dr. Sonja Schmid of Virginia Tech.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Dwight Holbrook, Adam Mickiewicz University, hdwight10021@yahoo.com

Holbrook, Dwight. “Coming Back to What Started It All.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 63-68.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2cI

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time

Image credit: Travis Miller, via flickr

In this response to Jesse Butler’s helpful explanations and broad discussion of subtle issues in his latest turn in our exchange of views—his paper this time around entitled, “Phenomenal Knowledge, Dualism, and Dreams” (2015)—for the most part it will be my purpose at this stage to bring this broad canvas of points of harmony and difference back to the issue that touched off this debate between Butler and myself. [1]

Prior to doing that, I do want to touch on what I believe represents more or less our extent of harmony. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Mark Alfano, University of Oregon, alfano@uoregon.edu

Alfano, Mark. “Becoming Less Unreasonable: A Reply to Sherman.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 59-62.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2cw

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justice

Image credit: Michael Coghlan, via flickr

“I’m the most reasonable, responsible person here in Washington.”

That’s what John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, said in an interview with ABC News on November 9th, 2012. Whether you agree with Boehner or not, you might worry about anyone who endorses such a claim about themselves. No one is perfect, after all, and it’s likely that thinking of yourself as reasonable and fair in your opinions makes it harder to recognize and correct your own mistakes. In “There’s No (Testimonial) Justice” (2015), Benjamin R. Sherman raises a related concern about the pursuit of epistemic justiceContinue Reading…

Author Information:Lydia Patton, Virginia Tech, critique@vt.edu

Patton, Lydia. “Incommensurability and the Bonfire of the Meta-Theories: Response to Mizrahi.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 51-58.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2c6

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epicycles

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

What is Taxonomic Incommensurability?

Moti Mizrahi states Kuhn’s thesis of taxonomic incommensurability (TI) as follows:

Periods of scientific change (in particular, revolutionary change) that exhibit TI are scientific developments in which existing concepts are replaced with new concepts that are incompatible with the older concepts. The new concepts are incompatible with the old concepts in the following sense: two competing scientific theories are conceptually incompatible (or incommensurable) just in case they do not share the same “lexical taxonomy.” A lexical taxonomy contains the structures and vocabulary that are used to state a theory (2015, 2).

Mizrahi cites Kuhn (2000) as a basis for this definition. There, and elsewhere, Kuhn repeatedly employs the metaphor of incommensurability from Greek geometry:  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Raphael Sassower, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, rsassowe@uccs.edu

Sassower, Raphael. “Beyond Hubris: Desiderata of the Future of Political Economy.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 38-50.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2bL

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city_of_arts_science

Image credit: Sarunas Mikalauskas, via flickr

In my latest Compromising the Ideals of Science (2015), it has dawned on me that when we provide a critique, any critical analysis of the state of affairs, radical or immanent, or both, we are in fact engaged indirectly in a comparison between an idealized state of affairs—of science, the scientific community, or political economy—and an existing set of circumstances under which such ideals are practiced. This is known as a heuristic, an aid of sorts, with which to approach a complex problem or set of facts; this is also known as the appeal to an “ideal type” in Max Weber’s sense of the term. The intent is to compare the here and now with an ideal to which it may approximate or strive to achieve. Or not.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Stefano Bigliardi, CMES Lund University; ITESM CSF; FIIRD Geneva, stefano.bigliardi@cme.lu.se

Bigliardi,Stefano. “New Religious Movements, Knowledge, and Science: Towards an Interdisciplinary Discussion.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 32-37.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2bt

religion_science

Image credit: Sombilon Photography, via flickr

Over the past eighteen months the Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective has been hosting a lively discussion about the various ways in which Muslim scholars and authors argue for the compatibility of (their) religion and science. [1] Meanwhile, also inspired by the participation in a notable conference about new religions,[2] I grew convinced that at least some of the currents or tendencies within the contemporary debate over Islam and science can be best understood if we think of them in terms of new religious movements (NRMs). They namely acquire a degree of doctrinal autonomy perhaps even unsuspected by their own initiators since they possess their own exegetical methods, their “prophets” and “heroes,” and their main narratives. Such is the case for instance of the “scientific miracle of the Qur’an,”[3] or of Islamic creationism à la Harun Yahya.[4]  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Luděk Brož, Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic, broz@cantab.net

Brož, Luděk. “I, Too, Have a Dream … About Suicidology.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 27-31.

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death

Image credit: Michael Taggart, via flickr

Scott Fitzpatrick, Claire Hooker, and Ian Kerridge (2014) offered an excellent and timely analysis of suicidology as social practice, which has provoked equally stimulating reactions. When asked to participate in the debate, I had to think twice. Not only am I much less qualified to comment on suicidology than other participants in the debate, but I also feel that many important points have already been made. Furthermore, since my own position is very close to that of other contributors, we may run into a real danger of preaching to the converted. This danger is inevitable because any wicked fosterer of suicidology’s rigid epistemic purity is unlikely to join the debate, either as a straw man or someone of flesh and bone.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Wolfgang Kaltenbrunner, Leiden University, wkaltenbrunner@gmail.com

Kaltenbrunner, Wolfgang. “Collaboration, Reward and the Digital Humanities: Reply to Nyhan.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 23-26.

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ny_library

Image credit: Wally Gobetz, via flickr

In her reply to my paper “Digital Collaboration and Scholarly Labor in Literary Studies” (2015), Julianne Nyhan (2015) suggests that Digital Humanities (DH) is a fundamentally collaborative discipline. Bringing digital project work to closure often requires tightly coordinated teamwork of individuals with very different skill sets, e.g. coders, data workers, designers, scholars. Questions of collaboration and reward feature prominently in the recent discourse of DH, often as part of a reflection about the role of digital methods in an academic culture that primarily values written output (see for example Flanders, 2011). Against this background it is surprising to find that multi-authorship of papers within DH is not particularly common.  Continue Reading…

Author Information:Lyudmila Markova, Russian Academy of Sciences, markova.lyudmila2013@yandex.ru

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2aM

god_dialogue

Image credit: Waiting For The Word, via flickr

Thank you, Adam, for such a quick response to my comment. Unfortunately, I am not an expert regarding the philosophical understanding of religion. Many years ago I published a book about the border between religion and science, but now the time and the problems are quite different. Nevertheless, I need to know the current state of affairs in this area as I begin to write an article (in Russian) about the Islamic religion, science and philosophy. An impetus for this work was the discussion on the SERRC about the relationships between Islam and science. I plan also to write a comment for the SERRC.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Reiner Grundmann, University of Nottingham, Reiner.Grundmann@nottingham.ac.uk

Grundmann, Reiner. “Regarding Experts and Expertise: A Reply to Szymanski.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 7 (2015): 19-22.

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experts_cover

Image credit: Routledge Press

The opening sentence of Erika Szymanski’s review encapsulates her tone and approach: ‘If you are looking for a provocative argument about what being an expert means in contemporary information-driven cultures, I would offer that your time is better spent somewhere other than Stehr and Grundmann’s Experts: The Knowledge and Power of Expertise (Routledge 2011).’

Unfortunately, she does not tell us what is provocative about the book, nor what better provocative books should be read instead. Towards the end of the review she comes to the view that the ‘central motion’ of the book is uncontroversial. Maybe it would have been a good idea to state upfront that she is in two minds about the book, and explain in what sense it is (un)controversial.  Continue Reading…