Author Information: Daniel P. Miller, Virginia Tech,

Miller, Daniel P. “SIREN 2015 Lecture Review: ‘The Last Resort at Fukushima Daiichi’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 49-53.

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Image credit: IAEA Imagebank, via flickr

Virginia Tech’s Department of Science and Technology in Society hosted its second in a series of talks as part of the Seminar on Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Nuclear Emergency Response (SIREN), on 24 February 2015 at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Virginia. SIREN, is part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant and aims to bring together nuclear experts to share perspectives on the response to nuclear emergencies. The speaker, Mr. Kenji Tateiwa, is Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) manager of nuclear power programs at TEPCO’s Washington, D.C. office.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Scott Fitzpatrick, University of Newcastle,; Claire Hooker, University of Sydney,; Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney,

Fitzpatrick, Scott, Claire Hooker and Ian Kerridge “‘Suicidology as a Social Practice': A Reply to Tom Widger.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 44-48.

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Image credit: Jack Keene, via flickr

In recent years, a growing body of critical literature has emerged that challenges the dominant norms and practices of mainstream suicidological research. Concerns over epistemology and methodology, the (political) rationales that determine how suicide is researched and responded to, and the lack of measurable advances in knowledge and prevention, are, for a growing number of scholars, symptoms of a more widely felt paradigm crisis in contemporary suicide research. Tom Widger (2015) crystallises the incommensurability between the globalising paradigm of ‘scientific’ suicidology and the meanings and nuances of self-inflicted death in specific cultural contexts, extending the concerns raised by our article ‘Suicidology as a Social Practice’ (2014). While recent debates have largely focused on issues of methodological pluralism as a way of moving suicidology forward, Widger questions the degree by which any study of suicide can truly subvert the suicidological paradigm when it produces both the subject and object involved. As he says, the very concept of suicide is suicidological.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Robert Frodeman, University of North Texas,

Frodeman, Robert. “Anti-Fuller: Transhumanism and the Proactionary Imperative.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 38-43.

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Image credit: Dave Mathis, via flickr

Academics suffer from a type of déformation professionnelle: we believe that across the long arc of history that ideas get their due. Our efforts are premised on the assumption that the best argument and deepest thinker will eventually be recognized.

Steve Fuller offers an interesting case in point. Few academics are as dedicated to the academic enterprise. His scholarship is prodigious, drawing from a wide range of historical and disciplinary sources. He publishes like crazy. Yet, despite its depth and verve, Fuller’s work has not gotten the notice it deserves— the attention, say, lavished on the Latours and Bourdieus of the world. Why? Besides accident, and the lack of a French accent, I see two factors at work.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Ilya Kasavin, Russian Academy of Sciences,

Kasavin, Ilya. “Reply to Rom Harré.”Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 34-37.

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I am happy to reply to Rom Harré (2015) who is widely known for his fruitful revision of scientific realism. He equips the latter with the whole set of concepts, which are rooted in a wider philosophical and scientific tradition—from Hume and Kant, to Cassirer and Ryle, and to Durkheim, Vygotsky, and Bruner. He develops an original version of social epistemology and was among the first scholars who integrated the results and methods of social and human sciences into it. All this makes him the best possible discussant on the topic of my article (2015).  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Tommaso Castellani, Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies,; Emanuele Pontecorvo, Sapienza University of Rome; Adriana Valente, Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies, National Research Council of Italy,

Castellani, Tommaso, Emanuele Pontecorvo and Adriana Valente. “Epistemic Consequences of Bibliometric Evaluation: A Reply to Rip and Stöckelová.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 29-33.

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Image credit: Jedediah Laub-Klein, via flickr

In writing a contribution on the consequences of bibliometric evaluation on the practices of doing science, we were aware of dealing with a very delicate matter, which may be easily subject to objections and misunderstandings.

We are grateful to Arie Rip and Tereza Stöckelová for having carefully read and commented our paper, helping us to identify in which directions our arguments can be reinforced and, not least, giving us the opportunity to further reflect on our work. Starting from their comments, we are going to further clarify and expand our reasoning. Namely, we are going to address three main issues:

1. The methodology of the work, in relation to its objectives;
2. The logical sequence of our reasoning;
3. The conclusions of the study.

We will develop these points in the following three sections.  Continue Reading…

A Pax Anglica? Steve Fuller

SERRC —  March 13, 2015 — 6 Comments

Author Information: Steve Fuller, University of Warwick,

Fuller, Steve. “A Pax Anglica?.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 26-28.

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Editor’s Note: Thanks to Literary Review for allowing us to republish Steve Fuller’s review of Michael Gordin’s Scientific Babel.


Image credit: Steve Panton

Scientific Babel: The Language of Science from the Fall of Latin to the Rise of English
By Michael Gordin
University of Chicago Press and Profile Books
352 pp.

English is the global scientific language—and has been for some time. That much is obvious. What is not so obvious is why. Although Scientific Babel is presented as a history of the very idea of a global scientific language, Michael Gordin, a Princeton-based historian of 19th- and 20th-century physical sciences, is really interested in fathoming the ascendancy of English. Nowadays, Spanish is actually the European language with the most native speakers, but English has the most second-language speakers. And that’s what counts when it comes to being the global scientific language. Indeed, Spanish was never a serious contender in the global scientific sweepstakes.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Rom Harré, Georgetown University,

Harré, Rom. “A Reply to Kasavin’s ‘Philosophical Realism’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 21-25.

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Image credit: sswj, via flickr

Ilya Kasavin’s article (2015) explores the extent to which a generic social epistemology is, or can be made to be, compatible with some form of scientific realism. My plan in this review is to lay out what I take to be the main issues that appear when social epistemology is attacked by naïve realists, and to stich this account on to Kasavin’s own analysis. Kasavin’s strategy is to give a comprehensive account of just what ‘sociality’ might be in the context of the debate about how far the sciences as bodies of knowledge are social constructions. There is little I would disagree with in his account. However, there is an omission from his account of realism which comes I think from identifying ‘realism’ with the doctrines of the Harvard philosophers, particularly Quine and Putnam.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Diana Rishani, American University of Beirut,

Rishani, Diana. “Living Architecture in Dead Spaces: ‘Why Haven’t You Stopped Dying?'”[1] Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 14-18.

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Image credit: Diana Rishani

The body is not a neutral place. Its politicization extends into both realms of the living of the dead. Dead bodies have been conceptualized in such a way that a form of politics has been created around them. And since these dead bodies themselves have been politicized, the space they occupy is then dictated by their biopolitics. The architecture that rises above burials, mass graves, and sites of massacres is then a contested site such that whatever physical structure formed is politically charged. Dead bodies then have the power to reconfigure space and to an extent affect urban planning (Verdery 1999, 109). This article will attempt to draw the biopolitical features of dead bodies as well as construct relationships between them, architecture, and the living. In order to do that, dead bodies must then be understood in Foucauldian terms: the dead body is a space in which the bios (the political citizen) is collapsed with the zoe (bare life). The article will then outline how dead bodies affect the architectural physicality of the living, especially in terms of urban development and planning.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Peter Graham,; Zachary Bachman,; Meredith McFadden; Megan Stotts,; University of California, Riverside

Graham, Peter, Zachary Bachman, Meredith McFadden and Megan Stotts. “Epistemic Evaluations: Consequences, Costs and Benefits.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 7-13.

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It is our pleasure to contribute to a discussion of Nicholas Tebben and John Waterman’s “Epistemic Free Riders and Reasons to Trust Testimony” (2014), itself a critical discussion of Sinan Dogramaci’s paper, “Reverse Engineering Epistemic Evaluations.” Tebben and Waterman (T&W) make two critical points. We’ll present and discuss them in turn, with the hope of stimulating further discussion.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Samuel Rickless, University of California, San Diego,

Rickless, Samuel. “Critical Appreciation of Jonathan Schaffer’s The Contrast-Sensitivity of Knowledge Ascriptions’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 4 (2015): 1-6.

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Editor’s Note: With Samuel Rickless’ post, we initiate our “critical appreciation” series. In this series, we ask scholars to examine Social Epistemology’s most cited articles over the last 3 years (according to statistics sourced from CrossRef). We seek both a re-appraisal and re-imagining of the articles since their publication, and a sense of where the arguments and ideas might go in the future.


Image credit: Michael J. Moeller, via flickr

Jonathan Schaffer’s 2008 article is part of a burgeoning trend, one that attempts to uncover previously unrecognized contrastive elements in a wide variety of different relations and properties (including knowledge, causation, freedom, belief, and confirmation of theory by evidence). My aim here is to provide a critical appraisal of the article, with a view to determining what it can teach us about how best to understand knowledge ascriptions, and how best to conduct research in epistemology and the philosophy of language more generally.  Continue Reading…