Philosophy of science can have great impact on scientific domains, but has often received little uptake by those who could use it most. Recently, “there has been a call from philosophers of science for empirical research on the extra-disciplinary impact they’ve had and how they might increase it.” Dr. Katie Plaisance, faculty advisor to the Feminism and Science Research Group and Associate Professor at the Department of Knowledge Integration, has set out to empirically investigate factors surrounding the uptake of such work across disciplines in a truly cross-disciplinary way in collaboration with Dr. John McLevey, a sociologist and Plaisance’s colleague in the Department of Knowledge Integration.
Their collaborative work on “Increasing the Impact of Philosophy of Science in Scientific Domains” has resulted in their winning a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. Their project both draws from and is impactful across domains and disciplines, for philosophers of science looking to improve the uptake of their work, sociologists interested in the flow of knowledge beyond disciplines, and scientists and policy makers.
For McLevey, “one of the most exciting things about this project is that we are using multiple types of data and methods to advance our understanding of knowledge diffusion processes at the level of entire disciplines.” While “most current research focuses on a smaller scale, often using one type of data”, their innovative multi-method research design is well-grounded in philosophy of science and meets the standards of social science research, emerging “from many conversations between me, Katie, Jay, and Sasha, as we negotiated our disciplinary differences.”
In addition, this interdisciplinary project has provided Jay Michaud, a PhD candidate in Philosophy, valuable opportunities for growth, “chief among them training in survey and semi-structured interview methods”. Michaud says: “I’m very excited to be a part of this valuable interdisciplinary project! I take a personal interest in incorporating empirical methodology in philosophy; my involvement in the project not only allows me to cultivate some important skills but advances my own research as well.”
Says McLevey: “Working on such an intellectually diverse team really deepens my appreciation for collaborative and interdisciplinary research.” This valuable and truly interdisciplinary project is exciting for everyone involved, and we look forward to seeing the results of their research! Congratulations!