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About the Author: Louise Bezuidenhout is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. As a biologist and social scientist, her current research focuses on empirical ethics and uses sociological techniques to investigate ethical issues within the life sciences.

Photo by Mackenzie Cowell; https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The last decade has challenged common understandings of where and by whom scientific research can (or should) be conducted. Citizen science projects are contributing in disciplines ranging from astronomy to zoology. The DIYBio movement, founded in 2008, has seen the establishment of community-run molecular biology laboratories in urban spaces. Citizen programs such as PatientLikeMe are contributing to—and collaborating with—academic researchers on a number of different diseases. Continue Reading »

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Emanuele Ratti  is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. He is a philosopher of biology interested in the epistemology of contemporary molecular biology with a particular focus on how the field is shaped by developments from a small-science regime to a big-science structure.

Pierre Duhem

The alleged (epistemic) connection between intellectual virtues and scientific practice has generated an interesting debate in the history and philosophy of science. To put it very simply, the contentious issue is on whether in order to be a good scientist you need to be virtuous too. The debate stemmed from Pierre Duhem’s idea that moral qualities of some sorts (like virtues) are necessary even in science, which is usually considered as a merely epistemic enterprise. In particular, in his book German Science – Some Reflections on German Science: German Science and German Virtues, Continue Reading »

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I Wonder as I Wander

About the Author: Emily Dumler-Winckler is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science project. She specializes in moral theology, with a particular interest in virtue, moral psychology, aesthetics, ascetic practices, politics, and social change in the modern era.

 This article originally appeared on Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute for Youth Ministry Blog. As part of the IYM series on science, this article was made possible by Science for Youth Ministry in association with Luther Seminary and the John Templeton Foundation.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the earth’s most famous selfie. In 1990 the Voyager spacecraft took a photo from more than 3.7 billion miles away, in which the earth appears as a “pale blue dot” barely visible to sight. You may have to squint to see it. If gazing at the night sky does not arouse wonder at the expansive universe, at the earth’s relatively minuscule status, this photo might help.

The scientist Carl Sagan famously and poetically captured the moment, “Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Dori Beeler is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in Scientific Practice project. She is an anthropologist whose interests include spirituality, medical science and expertise, well-being, and ethnography.

Image from giantmicrobes.com

Before the Christmas holidays I attended a lunch event as part of my ethnographic work on the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science project. As in most gatherings of this kind, there was a gift exchange that took place amongst the approximately 15 life scientists in attendance. Continue Reading »

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People Pleasers

About the Author: Angela Carpenter is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness project. She is a theological ethicist who specializes in moral agency and moral formation from an interdisciplinary perspective, with extra-theological interests in developmental psychology and evolutionary anthropology.

In “Nosedive,” an episode of the science fiction television series Black Mirror, communication technologies allow strangers to rank and view the popularity of all other members of society. Popularity ratings in this futuristic, yet eerily familiar, world don’t simply reflect social standing but also determine access to goods like employment, medical care, and housing. Lacie Pound, the protagonist of the episode, is obsessed with her ranking, and her life is a carefully orchestrated performance to receive the highest possible rating. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Emanuele Ratti  is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. He is a philosopher of biology interested in the epistemology of contemporary molecular biology with a particular focus on how the field is shaped by developments from a small-science regime to a big-science structure.

In some of my previous posts, I have focused attention on the fact that the scientific method – whatever this method really is, and whether it is unique – has not only epistemological roots, but ethical ones as well. The idea was that securing a method implies the cultivation of specific attitudes towards truth and towards others. In this post, I want to dig into this idea by focusing on aspects of Karl Popper’s philosophy that have been neglected in the typical literature in the philosophy of science. In particular, I will focus on a lecture given by Mariano Artigas at the Jacques Maritain Center of the University of Notre Dame in the summer of 1997, which was later included in his book The Ethical Nature of Karl Popper’s Theory of Knowledge. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Timothy Reilly is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. He is a developmental psychologist whose work draws from a variety of approaches, including positive psychology, moral development, sociocultural theory, and action theories of development.

Philosophers in Aristotelian traditions talk of three transcendent ends that all virtuous activity seeks to realize: the true, the good, and the beautiful. Various psychologists have attempted to grapple with each of these ends, but they are often treated as independent and examined separately. For instance, they examine beliefs that a statement is true, but keep this separate from any aesthetic evaluation. Continue Reading »

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