IPPP Workshop: Values in Science and Science Policy

May 23, 2014, 1:00 PM to May 24, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Johnson Center, Room A

​While science is sometimes described as a "value-free" enterprise, the 20th century brought critical reflection upon that ideal from within the philosophical and scientific communities alike. It is now generally accepted that values of various kinds – epistemic, moral, ideological, and so on – play both direct and indirect roles in scientific practice. 

This workshop will discuss recent work on the role played by values – epistemic or otherwise – in scientific inquiry, as well as its implications for the manner in which science is used to inform policy and for the way in which science is funded and organized. 

The workshop is organized by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy in collaboration with the undergraduate Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program at George Mason University. The workshop is free and open to the public. Each presentation lasts one hour.




Friday May 23
1:00 pm   Andrew Light, George Mason University: "The Politics of Science Policy"
2:00 pm   Karen Kovaka, University of Pennsylvania: "Navigating the Tradeoff between Generality and Prediction in order to Bring Evolution in to Ecology"
3:30 pm   David Morrow, University of Alabama at Birmingham: "Ethics and Policy for Dangerous Research" 
4:30 pm   Jonathan Moreno, University of Pennsylvania: "Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century"
Saturday May 24
8:30 am   JD Trout, Loyola University Chicago: "Democracy and Scientific Expertise"
9:30 am   Chad Gonnerman, Michael O’Rourke & Daniel Steel, Michigan State University: "Philosophical Engagement with Scientists: Attitudes on Values in Science"
11:00am   Wendy Parker, Durham University: "Values in Policy-Relevant Computational Modeling"
1:30 pm   Liam Kofi Bright, Carnegie Mellon University: "Citizens Advisory Panels" 
2:30 pm   Chris DiTeresi, George Mason University: "Fruitfulness as Cultivation: Model Organisms and Values in Developmental Biology"
4:00 pm   David Levy, George Mason University, & Sandra Peart, University of Richmond: "The Ethics Problem: Towards a Second-Best Solution to the Problem of Economic Expertise"


How to get to the workshop

The workshop will be held in the Johnson Center on Mason's Fairfax campus in the metro Washington DC area. Click here for a map of the campus and here for more information about how to get there. The Johnson Center is easy to find right in the middle of campus, next to the Center for the Arts. Visitor parking is available at the Mason Pond Parking Deck.


About the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy. The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy brings philosophical analysis – the examination of values and the clarification of concepts – to the discussion of pressing issues in public policy. Institute members address moral, legal, and societal concerns that arise, for example, with emerging technologies, international development, and global demands for justice. The institute provides expertise in the ethical and conceptual dimensions of public policy and thus complements empirical research from the natural and social sciences. 

About the PPE Program. The new Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Program at George Mason University allows undergraduate students to pursue topics in the intersection of philosophy, political science, and economics. Students in the program work with faculty in the Departments of Philosophy, Public and International Affairs, and Economics. Many of these faculty are internationally recognized authorities on topics in the intersection of philosophy, politics and economics. 

About George Mason UniversityGeorge Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.

Sponsored by the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy in collaboration with the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program.

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