Science vs. non-science! Why the demarcation problem is still relevant and what we can do about it

What separates science from pseudoscience? In this post, Carlo Martini takes a fresh look at the familiar but largely forgotten problem of demarcation. He argues that demarcation is still a relevant problem, as scientific misinformation continues to plague public debates on topics such as global warming, vaccines, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Institutional knowledge

Under what circumstances can we correctly attribute knowledge to an institution? The question is interesting not only because it can assist us in attributing responsibility, but also because it can illuminate what information structures and lines of communication should look like in institutions. This post by Säde Hormio is based on her forthcoming article “Institutional knowledge and its normative implications”.

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Akateemisen moniottelijan taipaleelta

Viime vuosituhannen puolella oli vielä mahdollista kouluttautua perusteellisesti ja monialaisesti, muistelee Uskali Mäki matkaansa taloustieteen filosofiksi teoksessa Tiemme taloustieteilijöiksi. Hän arvelee, että nykyisten akateemisten instituutioiden raameissa sellainen on paljon vaikeampaa, vaikka monitieteisyyttä yhä äänekkäämmin kuulutetaan.

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Yet another handbook on the philosophy of social sciences?

There are many excellent handbooks on the philosophy of the social sciences out there. So who needs another one? Perhaps no one, at least not now. In this post, Michiru Nagatsu and Attilia Ruzzene explain why they prepared another handbook,  Contemporary Philosophy and Social Science: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, and why this is different.

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Tieteeltä leikkaaminen ei ole säästämistä

Teksti: Uskali Mäki

Tiedemaailma toivoi, että Suomen eduskuntavaaleista vuosimallia 2019 tulisi tiedevaalit. Kukaan ei kuvitellut, että tieteen asia olisi ainoa tai edes päällimmäinen teema, sen verran kuumaa aiheistoa on tapetilla muutenkin, ilmastosta maahanmuuttoon, sotesta eriarvoistumiseen. Kunnollista kohennusta aikaisempaan kuitenkin kuulutettiin, sekä tieteelle osoitetussa tiedollisessa huomiossa että tieteelle osoitetuissa resursseissa.

Tieteelle osoitetusta huomiosta oli vaalikampanjoinnissa merkkejä useammankin puolueen puheenvuoroissa, kun aika ajoin todettiin, että tälle tai tuolle kannalle löytyy (tai ei löydy) tutkimuksen tukea; tai yleisemmin, että tehtäköön politiikkaa parhaan tutkimustiedon varassa. Ja toden totta, kaikki muut kuumat teemat, ilmastosta eriarvoistumiseen, ovat tieteellisen tutkimuksen kohteita, ja niitä koskevaa uutta informaatiota on lisääntyvästi tarjolla. Nyt kaivataan riittävää vastaanottoalttiutta ja –kykyä päättäjien suunnalla. Continue reading “Tieteeltä leikkaaminen ei ole säästämistä”

TINT in context

Written by Uskali Mäki

The story of Finnish philosophy of science is often told in terms of sequential generations, expanding from individuals to groups. There was Eino Kaila, logical empiricist, followed by Georg Henrik von Wright and his student Jaakko Hintikka, followed by the latter’s students such as Ilkka Niiniluoto, Raimo Tuomela, and Risto Hilpinen. The generic style of research has been markedly analytic, but the modes of analysis have not been uniform, and the themes addressed have evolved in the course of the past decades. (For a story of Finnish philosophy of science, see e.g. Niiniluoto EPSA Newsletter 2013.)

Among other lines of inquiry, philosophy of the social sciences, broadly conceived, has recently become a major field of group activity, especially at the University of Helsinki. In addition to his many other contributions, G.H. von Wright’s Explanation and Understanding (1971), an exercise in analytic hermeneutics, was an important contribution in its time, even though its major idea – drawing the contrast between natural and social sciences in terms of causal explanation vs practical reasoning — is now largely abandoned, and it has not given rise to an enduring tradition. Raimo Tuomela, professor of philosophy and methodology of social sciences since 1971, has had a long career in developing accounts of collective intentionality and social ontology more generally, becoming one of the leading experts in this area. Tuomela served as an Academy Professor in 1995-2000, which involved resources for him to put together a research group and thereby to coordinate more extensive collective activity on collective action. This has created a notable tradition in the field. Continue reading “TINT in context”

The TINT blog

Welcome to the TINT blog!

This blog is for all things philosophy of (social) science. We’ll post updates about our weekly Perspectives on Science -seminar, as well as texts by our researchers (and maybe some others, too). The blog is under construction and will launch soon. Stay tuned!