Philosophy of Science Colloquium

Vlasta Sikimic and Justin Vlasits will give a talk in the philosophy of science colloquium.

The next session of the Philosophy of Science & Methodoloy colloquium is taking place on May 4, 16.30-18pm on Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/96463039203).

Vlasta Sikimic (Weizsäcker Center, Tübingen): The Interplay between Political and Epistemic Views of Scientists 

When deciding between two competing theories scientists use a wide array of epistemic judgments. We were particularly interested in the role that epistemic tolerance, epistemic authoritarianism, and the skepticism towards the scientific method play in this matter. Epistemic tolerance represents the openness towards opposing views, while epistemic authoritarianism stands for a tendency to accept the views of the authority. Moreover, there is the question of whether the sociopolitical attitudes of researchers influence their decisions about which theories to pursue. We introduced scales for empirically measuring listed epistemic stances and surveyed 655 researchers working in both social and natural sciences. We compared their epistemic views with their level of conservatives and their political orientation. The findings show only a small correlation between epistemic and sociopolitical attitudes of researchers, which is an argument in favor of the hypothesis that science could be free of political values after all.

Justin Vlasits (Department of Philosophy, Tübingen): Accuracy and the Epistemic Value of Inquiry

In recent years, the accuracy-first program in formal epistemology has emerged as a promising way to unify epistemic norms by explaining them all through maximized expected accuracy. So far, the program has focused on justifying various norms on belief and credal states, but since it is supposed to support a general monism about epistemic value, it should also explain the epistemic value of inquiry. In this talk, I prove a general theorem that shows that no non-trivial inquiry ever maximizes expected accuracy, and hence that no accuracy-first explanation of the value of inquiry is possible. I conclude by showing that if we follow Pierce in the idea that opinionation is an epistemic value, we can explain the epistemic value of inquiry.