PoS Seminar 21.1.22 with Dunja Šešelja

At the first Perspectives on Science seminar of the year on Monday 24.1., Dunja Šešelja (Eindhoven University of Technology) will give a presentation titled “Scientific Disagreements, Fast Science and Higher-Order Evidence”, based on work co-authored with Daniel Cserhalmi Friedman. The seminar takes place in Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45.

Perspectives on Science is a weekly research seminar which brings together experts from science studies and philosophy of science. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar here.

To join the seminar, please sign up here.


Scientific disagreements are commonly considered an important catalyst of scientific progress. But what happens if scientists disagree while society is depending on them for quick yet reliable results? In this paper we aim to provide a normative account for how scientists facing disagreement in the context of ‘fast science’ should respond, and how policy makers should evaluate such disagreement. Starting from an argumentative, pragma-dialectic account of scientific controversies (Rodriguez & Zamora Bonilla 2013), we argue for the importance of ‘higher-order evidence (HOE)’, which has largely been neglected in previous discussions on scientific disagreements and controversies. We specify roles that HOE can play in the handling of scientific disagreements and provide guidelines for how scientifically relevant HOE is acquired. We illustrate our point with a recent disagreement on the aerosol transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Author bio:

Dunja Šešelja is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy of Science and Technology at TU Eindhoven. She serves as an Editor-in-Chief of the European Journal for Philosophy of Science. Previously, she held visiting professorships at the University of Vienna and Ghent University, and postdoctoral positions at Ghent University, Ruhr-University Bochum, and MCMP, LMU Munich. Her research focuses on social epistemology of science and at the integration of historically informed philosophy of science and formal models of scientific inquiry. She is the PI of the DFG Research Network “Simulations of Scientific Inquiry” with the core at MCMP, LMU Munich.