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20.5. Perspectives on Science seminar: Patricia Rich

In the Perspectives on Science seminar on 20 May, 2024, Patricia Rich (University of Bayreuth) will give a talk “The Evolution of Cooperation … in Science

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

The seminar takes place in person at Soc&kom, room 209 and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 20th of May 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the Zoom invitation.

Abstract
Explaining human cooperation has been a major interdisciplinary challenge, but we now have many insightful accounts to draw on. One example comes from Bowles, Choi and Hopfensitz; they offer a fairly detailed account of the co-evolution of cooperative individuals and group-level institutions supporting cooperation. Specifically, they argue that intergroup conflict can explain altruistic behaviors and leveling institutions (such as food sharing and monogamy). This talk addresses the question of whether the authors’ analysis can be used to construct an explanation of cooperation in the context of modern science. I argue that the basic argument can be translated, but that this leads us to three distinct evolutionary stories (potentially) explaining three distinct kinds of scientific cooperation. For each case, I indicate the relevant individuals, groups, and currency of evolution; the nature of the intergroup conflict and the types of scientific cooperation that give the group an advantage in such a conflict; and the group-level institutions that lower the costs to the relevant types of cooperation. Thus, a framework for analyzing scientific cooperation emerges. This framework can be used to situate existing models and arguments from the philosophy of science and social epistemology; it also highlights further aspects of scientific cooperation that can be integrated.

Bio
Patricia Rich is the Junior Professor for Philosophy of Economics at the University of Bayreuth. Her research generally focuses on human rationality and covers game and decision theory, epistemology, philosophy of science, and computational cognitive science. For links to her publications, see https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=1-fm_skAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

13.5. Perspectives on Science seminar: Emrah Aydinonat

In the Perspectives on Science seminar on 13 May, 2024, N. Emrah Aydinonat (University of Helsinki) will give a talk titled “Economic Models as Argumentative Devices

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo room 10 and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 13th of May 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Abstract
In this talk I critically evaluate Itzhak Gilboa, Andrew Postlewaite, Larry Samuelson, and David Schmeidler’s account of economic models. First, I give a selective overview of their argument, highlighting its emphasis on similarity and their oversight of the role of idealizations in economics. Second, I propose a sketch of an account that views models as arguments and argumentative devices. This approach not only sheds light on Gilboa et al.’s approach, including its shortcomings, but also identifies key challenges in model-based inference, suggesting a fresh perspective on the uses of models in economics for diverse objectives.

Author Bio:
N. Emrah Aydinonat (PhD, Docent) is a philosopher of economics working at the University of Helsinki, and a member of the Centre for Philosophy of Social Science (TINT). He is one of the Chief Editors of the Journal of Economic Methodology, and a member of the Editorial Board of the History of Economic Ideas. He also serves in the International Advisory Board of The Review of Evolutionary Political Economy (REPE). More info: https://neaydinonat.com/

6.5. Perspectives on Science seminar: Mattia Gallotti

In the Perspectives on Science seminar on 6 May, 2024, Mattia Gallotti (London Interdisciplinary School) will give a talk titled “Towards a Framework for Interdisciplinary Integrative Research”

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo room 10 and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 6th of May 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Abstract

Despite widespread recognition, interdisciplinarity still lacks a consistent system of research evaluation. At a time when ever more research is recognized and classed as being interdisciplinary, the need for clear and shared evaluative standards is now seen as a pressing concern in the academic and policy world. Calls have been made for better theoretically founded, more sophisticated, and dynamic approaches to accurately capture the ethos of interdisciplinary research. In recent years, important systematic work has been done to distill general criteria for cross-disciplinary integration from successful cases of local research activity and design. However, increasing knowledge of the processes and techniques through which interdisciplinary outputs can be generated through integration has not yet led to an agreed upon framework. This paper seeks to address this issue in the context of the broader debate on integration as the guiding method of interdisciplinarity, thus contributing to current efforts towards a philosophy of science of interdisciplinarity.

Author Bio:

Mattia Gallotti is a founding Faculty member and currently the Head of Research & Development at the new London Interdisciplinary School (LIS). A trained philosopher of social science, he has researched concepts of collective intentionality across several disciplines spanning from cognitive science to literary criticism. His current research focuses on the methodology of interdisciplinary research and teaching.

www.linkedin.com/in/mattiagallotti

29.4. Perspectives on Science seminar: Kármen Kovács

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Kármen Kovács (University of Pécs) will give a talk titled “Is early novelty switching beneficial for consumers? The impact of impatience on the consumer utility derived from innovation from a behavioural economic perspective”

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo room 10 and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 29th of April 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

Abstract

This research investigates from a behavioural economic perspective the reasons, the manifestations and the consequences of the early purchase of various innovations when consumers have present-biased preferences. The present study aims to analyse how consumers’ impatience influences their utility stream when various innovations are launched with increasing frequency. A simple theoretical model is presented that proceeds on the general form of the hyperbolic discounting utility function. Its purpose is to analyse how consumers’ impatience influences their utility stream derived from purchasing various types of innovations and a potential early novelty switching. The findings show why impatient consumers tend to finance the desired innovation by borrowing. The results indicate how the level of impatience, price level, and added value of innovations influence consumers’ utility stream.

Bio

Kármen Kovács graduated from the University of Pécs, Faculty of Business and Economics in 2002. She defended her PhD dissertation with summa cum laude in 2007; then she habilitated successfully in 2015. She was an assistant professor from September 2008 at the University of Pécs, Faculty of Business and Economics. She has been an associate professor since July 2016 at the Faculty. She has taught academic research and writing, research methods, basic mathematics, innovation management, business economics and behavioural economics. Her major research interest is behavioural economics. For the academic year 2016/17, she received a postdoctoral scholarship from the New National Excellence Program of the Ministry of Human Capacities. She received the János Bolyai Research Fellowship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences between 2017 and 2020. She has won the Hungarian State Eötvös Scholarship for the academic year 2023/24. She is an Associate Editor of the journal Marketing Intelligence and Planning.

8.4. Perspectives on Science seminar: Charlie Kurth

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Charlie Kurth (Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies; Western Michigan University) will give a talk titled “What is the Place of Emotion AI in Moral Education?”

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 8th of April 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

Abstract

Cultivating one’s emotions—learning to feel anger, say, at the right time and in the right way—has long been viewed as central to moral education. Recently, educators, philosophers, and entrepreneurs have pointed to “emotion nudges” and other forms of emotion-focused AI (EAI) as powerful, but under-utilized tools for emotion cultivation. The initial results are intriguing: merely placing “watching-eye” icons in online chatrooms can prompt feelings of anxiety that help curb vicious posting, and virtual reality (VR) simulations can engage stereotype-challenging empathy. But while there’s a growing body of research examining the use of AI for education as well as emotion-focused AI in general, there is little that looks specifically at the science and ethics of using EAI for moral education. 

In an effort to start filling this gap, my paper has two aims. First, I identify a trio of issues that must be addressed if EAI is to live up to its promise. More specifically, as it stands, we (i) lack answers to basic questions about how EAI will identify, assess, and educate emotions, (ii) have not considered (much less addressed) very real concerns about how EAI could lead to the deskilling of crucial meta-emotional capacities, and (iii) have done little to tackle problematic political and financial influences that threaten to distort the development of EAI educational tools. While these considerations should leave us very worried about the continued use of EAI, the second part of the paper attempts to find reasons for optimism. To do this, I examine emerging VR technologies in order to explore what scientifically and pedagogically responsible uses of EAI for moral education might look like. 

Bio

Charlie Kurth is a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies and a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Western Michigan University. His research focuses on issues at the intersection of ethical theory, moral psychology, and the philosophy of emotion; methodologically, he takes philosophical questions about the nature of value and the mind to be productively informed by empirical inquiry in the cognitive and social sciences. Recently, his work has examined the role that emotions play in shaping moral thought and agency.

11.3. Perspectives on Science seminar: Sam White

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Sam White (University of Helsinki) will give a talk titled “Rabbits, Ducks, and Conceptual Problems in the Environmental History of Late Antiquity.”

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 11th of March 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

Abstract

Investigations in the historical sciences often confront persistent (contrastive) under-determination of theory by evidence. In some cases, rival theories may persist indefinitely in a state of uncertainty or indifference. Yet in most cases the hope is that new evidence and methods will bring at least partial and provisional resolution. Unfortunately, there can be cases when new evidence and methods appear to aggravate problems of under-determination rather than resolve them, producing sharply divided and apparently irreconcilable positions on historical questions. One such case is the environmental history of the Late Antique Mediterranean (e.g., early Byzantine Empire): once a quaint and obscure branch of study that has now drawn a disproportionate share of research attention and scholarly polemics. Teams of historians, archaeologists, paleoclimatologists, and geneticists have clashed over “maximalist” and “minimalist” positions regarding environmental disasters, plague mortality, and political collapse in the 3rd-6th centuries CE; and in numerous cases, have attacked each other’s methods, epistemology, and reasoning. Using the familiar rabbit-duck illusion as a metaphor, I argue that debates in the field have been derailed by feedbacks between divergent historical interpretations, on the one hand, and divergent approaches to historical analysis and interdisciplinary consilience, on the other. The paper proposes some modest solutions grounded in Bayesian reasoning. Problems in the environmental history of Late Antiquity analyzed in my paper may also represent wider problems in historical epistemology.

Author bio

Sam White joined the University of Helsinki as professor of political history in October 2022. He teaches on environmental history, historiography, and the uses and politics of history. His research specializes in reconstructing past climates and extreme weather and understanding their roles in human history. His publications include narrative monographs, scientific collaborations, and works on theory and methods. He currently leads the Past Global Changes (PAGES) working group on Climate Reconstruction and Impacts from the Archives of Societies. 

12.2. Perspectives on Science seminar: María Jiménez-Buedo

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, María Jiménez-Buedo (UNED) will give a talk titled “Explanation and generality in Analytical Sociology: what is a catalogue of mechanisms?” (Joint work with Saúl Pérez-González (University of Valencia))

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 12th of February 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

Abstract:

One of the defining features of current analytical sociology is its emphasis on the centrality of mechanisms in social science. It is considered that the explanation of social phenomena is mainly achieved through the identification and description of underlying social mechanisms. These mechanisms often aggregate individual actions to form macro-phenomena. Following this idea, the founders of analytical sociology envisioned the future of the discipline as one in which there would be a variety of mechanism schemes that would collectively constitute a catalogue of explanations available for social phenomena. This work addresses the idea of a catalogue of mechanisms and examines the promises, but also the difficulties, that the idea entails. It evaluates to what extent the catalogue currently plays the role envisioned by early analytical sociologists.

Author bios:

María Jiménez-Buedo is a lecturer at the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science, UNED. She works in the philosophy of the social sciences, with an emphasis on methodological issues. Her recent work focuses on experimental methods in the social sciences and their evidential uses  policy formulation.

Saúl Pérez-González is assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Valencia. Previously, he held a post-doctoral position at the Center for Logic, Language, and Cognition (LLC) of the University of Turin. His main areas of interest are philosophy of science, philosophy of the social sciences, and philosophy of the biomedical sciences.

15.1. Perspectives on Science seminar: Sofia Blanco Sequeiros

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Sofia Blanco Sequeiros (University of Helsinki) and Samuli Reijula (University of Helsinki) will give a talk titled “Explaining evidential discordance.”

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 15th of January 2024. To join the seminar, please contact samuli.reijula@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

Perspectives on Science is a research seminar which brings together experts from the philosophy of science and several fields of science studies. It is organized by TINT – Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. More information about the seminar can be found on the TINT web page https://tint.helsinki.fi.

Abstract:

Successful replication is a hallmark of scientific truth. Discordant evidence refers to the situation where findings from different studies of the same phenomenon do not agree. Although evidential discordance can spur scientific discovery, it also gives scientists a reason to rationally disagree and thereby compromises the formation of scientific consensus. Discordance indicates that facts about the phenomenon of interest remain unsettled and that a finding may not be reliably replicable. We single out persistent evidential discordance as a particularly difficult problem for the epistemology of science, and distinguish between different causes of evidential discordance – non-systematic error, noise, and bias. Unlike discordance brought about by non-systematic error or noise, persistent discordance often cannot be rationally resolved by temporarily suspending judgment and collecting more data within existing lines of inquiry. We suggest that the analysis of enriched lines of evidence (Boyd 2018) provides a useful approach to diagnosing and evaluating episodes of evidential discordance. Attention to the line of evidence, which extends from raw data to an evidential claim supporting or disconfirming a hypothesis, can help researchers to localize the source of discordance between inconsistent findings. We argue that reference to metadata, information about how the data were generated and processed, is key to resolving normative questions of correctness, i.e., whether a line of evidence provides a legitimate answer to a particular research question. We illustrate our argument with two cases: the alleged discovery of gravitational waves in the late 1960s, and the social priming controversy in experimental psychology.

Author bios:

Sofia Blanco Sequeiros is a PhD-student at the University of Helsinki. She works on questions concerning scientific evidence and methodology and the science-policy interface.

Samuli Reijula is an Academy of Finland research fellow and a university lecturer in theoretical philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His area of expertise is the philosophy of science, with interests in cognitive science and science studies (incl. science of science). His research interests include collective problem solving, cognitive diversity, science policy, and foundations of evidence-based policy.

13.11. Perspectives on Science seminar: Luca Ausili

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Luca Ausili (Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan) will give a talk titled “Quantification, Transparency, and Epistemic Heterogeneity“.

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 13th of November 2023. To join the seminar, please contact jessica.north@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

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.

Abstract:

The communication between science and society is strongly mediated, inter alia, by two factors: quantification and transparency. Scientific results are represented in numerical form as the outcomes of standardized research processes, and both the results and the processes themselves are made available. This system is conceived to share important results to the widest public, in the fastest way, and to foster public trust in science. However, both quantification and transparency have their shortcomings. Quantification, in particular, causes the loss of local knowledge, since everything that cannot be represented within the current systems of categorization is automatically not taken into account. In this work, my intention is to show that this inevitable shortcoming, the systematic loss of local forms of knowledge, is having important political consequences, and is partially and indirectly, contributing to the proliferation of scientific disinformation. I argue that this is related to the fact that quantification and transparency can impair the epistemically heterogeneous nature of the relation between science and society.

Author bio:

I am a Phd student in Philosophy at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University (Milan) and currently Phd visiting student at the University of Helsinki. I am broadly interested in the relation between Science and Society, in their communication, and in the ways by which they mutually condition each other. I am also very interested in the reasons and causes of the proliferation of scientific disinformation within the infosphere, which is the main topic of my research project.

30.10. Perspectives on Science seminar: Miriam Teschl & Stéphane Luchini

In the next Perspectives on Science seminar, Miriam Teschl (EHESS, Aix-Marseille School of Economics) and Stéphane Luchini (CNRS, Aix-Marseille School of Economics) will give a talk titled “Cognitive Pathways to Complexity“.

The seminar takes place in person at Metsätalo and online via Zoom from 14:15 to 15:45 on Monday the 30th of October 2023. To join the seminar, please contact jessica.north@helsinki.fi for the location or Zoom invitation.

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.

Abstract:

What happens when we face complex situations, situations in which predictions are out of reach, at least without making untestable assumptions? Over the last few years, we have embarked into a journey on complexity, how we perceive it and can (or not) manage it. Our research involves interdisciplinary conceptual and experimental work with neuro-scientists, with whom we tested ideas with animals and humans, and applied some of these ideas to real world complex challenges (e.g. Covid-19). In the seminar, we will present this ongoing research and provide some elements about how our approach has changed our own way of “doing” (economic) science.

Author bios:

Miriam Teschl: originally studying economics, but then moving more and more towards philosophy and the social sciences, Miriam is now particularly interested in conceptual and epistemological questions, notably around notions such as effort, uncertainty, and complexity. She is also interested in issues of wellbeing and social justice, notably in the context of language learning and multilingualisme. She is associate professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, based at the Aix-Marseille School of Economics in France.
 
Stéphane Luchini: 
Stephane Luchini’s general interest is directed towards the understanding of human decision making and how institutions shape behaviour. His research is based on the use of questionnaires in surveys and on  the study of behaviour in the lab, i.e. experimental economics. He has engaged over the years in interedisciplinary work with medical doctors, psychologists, sociologists and neuro-scientists His a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) , based at the Aix-Marseille School of Economics in France.