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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.

 

Photo by wu yi

At the peak of one English summer at a seminar entitled Faith, Science & Academia held at Durham University, a physicist presented a talk on the similarities and differences between medieval natural philosophy and modern science. At the conclusion, an audience member asked him, “How does a Muslim scientist negotiate modern science in view of his or her faith?” The presenter answered, “They don’t have to. One’s faith does not enter into the activity of scientific discovery or the scientific method.” 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.

Image used with permission from MIT Press: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/objectivity.

There is a fair amount of literature in philosophy of science about epistemic virtues. These are understood as being those characteristics that make theories and models good theories and models. Sometimes the ‘epistemic’ is understood in a technical sense, namely that such virtues make theories and models true. However, truth is a complicated thing in philosophy, so some authors decided to understand ‘epistemic’ in a humbler way. For instance, Ernan McMullin understands epistemic as something that is likely to promote those characters of science that make it the type of knowledge usually seen as the most secure knowledge available to us. However, philosophers’ accounts of epistemic values/virtues are surprisingly poor when it comes to discerning the relation between such virtues/values and those who endorse them (i.e. the scientists). The book Objectivity by Daston and Galison is a welcome exception. Continue Reading »

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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.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson declared in his Divinity School Address (1838) that it is by “the religious sentiment” and “not by science or power,” that “the universe is made safe and habitable.”[i] He and his fellow transcendentalists were eager to embrace the insights of the second scientific revolution of the nineteenth century. Nonetheless, they were also keenly aware of the limitations and dangers that attend certain modern scientific practices and Enlightenment views of nature—views that emphasize our power to dominate creation and its creatures. The modern temptation is to think that it is by this form of knowledge or power that the world is made safe and habitable. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Adam Willows is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness Project. He is a theologian who specializes in philosophical theology, with particular interests in normative ethics, virtue, free will theory, and philosophy of religion.

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Dr. Marc Kissel and I have recently finished teaching a course entitled Violence and Virtues, an exploration of human nature from both anthropological and theological perspectives. Interdisciplinary work is always challenging and interesting; but having now been at the Center for over 2 years, we have both grown a little more used to the difficult – but productive – conversations that this kind of research entails. Teaching across the disciplines, though, has proved to be a very different matter; new and exciting in its own right. I want to use this blog to reflect on some of our experience, and the ways it has impacted our research and our mutual understanding. Continue Reading »

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The Emu in the Sky

About the Author: Marcus Baynes-Rock is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Human Distinctiveness project. He is an Australian anthropologist whose academic interests lie in the relationships between humans and large carnivores, including these relationships throughout evolutionary history.

Photo by Michael Lynch. Emu @ West Head. https://www.flickr.com/photos/micklynch/5193465866

In Kuringai National Park, just north of Sydney, there’s a site where Aboriginal people have made engravings into the exposed rocks. One of these engravings in particular has garnered a lot of attention. It’s the outline of an emu engraved on the flat surface of a naturally occurring stone slab. 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.

When we think of creativity, we often think of grand new ideas and technologies: Einstein’s theories of relativity, the genetic revolution in biology, the cognitive revolution in psychology, and so forth. This can put creativity on a pedestal, something only achievable by geniuses. Nonetheless, creativity is highly valuable, in part because it can expand human capacity, increase efficiency, and generate new possibilities for action.  It is also vital for virtue. 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.

Thomas Huxley

In a previous post, I illustrated a deflationary way to talk about the unity of science based on attitudes and cognitive dispositions. Here I want to report another interesting example of this conception of unity.

The issue of the unity of science is, in its most general terms, the question of whether something called science exists at all, or whether there are just different disciplines, unified by historical contingencies but largely independent. Continue Reading »

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About the Author: Nathaniel Warne is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science project. He is a philosophical and systematic theologian who works across a range of classic Christian doctrines with a special focus on the doctrine of humanity.

Why not just let words die? Isn’t it a natural phenomenon for language to evolve over time and certain words drop out of use and others replace them? Essayist and philosopher Paul Valéry in early twentieth century said to the French Academy, “Virtue, ladies and Gentlemen, the word virtue is dead.” Continue Reading »

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