Browsing All Posts filed under »Science«

The Technological Progress of CRISPR-Cas9

May 24, 2018 by

6

A common misconception about technological advancement is that they are ahistorical revolutions (Cook 1995). On this narrative, technological innovations emerge suddenly, without competition from other extant technologies, and are solely responsible for ushering in rapid, widespread social change. This misconception not only fails to account for the crucial social, political, and moral values that often […]

Science, Reality, and Objectivity

May 22, 2018 by

7

Our research project team members here in Calgary have spent the last several months reading (and re-reading) Bas van Fraassen’s subtle and powerful work Scientific Representation (2008). As with any work of its scope and ambition, it’s open to a heavy dose of interpretation. What follows is my interpretation, and I’ll stress that it is particularly […]

On Patches and Patterns: Local Knowledge and Scientific Success

May 3, 2018 by

1

It’s often said that science strives towards generality, looking for laws and principles about reality that admit of no exceptions, or as few as possible. Some even go as far as saying that unity is a standard of scientific success, that an ideal scientific knowledge would be one simple, unifying, and universal theory of everything. […]

Metaphysics: The Good, The Bad, and The Harmful?

September 28, 2017 by

2

Recently I began a postdoctoral research position at the University of Calgary with the project From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics.  I (along with Oliver Lean) was asked to present Amanda Bryant’s paper entitled, “Keep the chickens cooped: the epistemic inadequacy of free range metaphysics” (2017) as part of a graduate seminar taught by Ken […]

Post-Truth Debate and Critical Thinking

July 4, 2017 by

3

“Look it up” should be a good response to a dispute about matters of fact where a correct answer already exists. This is why bars used to keep sports record books handy; bets could be solved quickly and conclusively. But “look it up” relies not only on there existing a source of (largely) correct information, […]

Cognitive Dissonance and Philosophy

April 5, 2017 by

8

I want to first give credit to the authors of “Mistakes Were Made (but not by me)” – Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Their talk of cognitive dissonance and the metaphor of the ‘pyramid of choice’ has inspired my comments below. Although the ideas in this book have obvious ramifications for psychology, psychotherapy, political science, […]

On Breed Specific Legislation, Public Safety, and Why The Research Matters

July 16, 2016 by

15

There is recent nation-wide attention to animal control issues concerning dogs in Canada.  The target is “pit bulls” or dogs with traits that resemble particular characteristics of breeds included in this generic term.  One common response to serious dog bites and maulings is to lobby for a ban of particular breeds by enacting Breed Specific […]