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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alan Love: the emphases of disciplines studying scientific practice

I was excited at the prospect of interviewing a new (2006) member of the University of Minnesota philosophy faculty, Alan Love, because I knew that he is engaged in careful study of scientific practice in areas of biology, as a prelude to philosophic analysis. When I came to the department as a graduate student in 1974, people were beginning to make use of careful, extended case studies, entering into dialogue with those engaged in a variety of practices. I wanted to hear more about the current state of that sort of philosophic enterprise.

In this excerpt, Alan Love discusses the differences between the kind of “descriptive” enterprise philosophers undertake and similar efforts in history and cultural anthropology. Some of Love’s work in philosophy of science concerns the motives for interdisciplinary approaches to areas of biology; this interview suggests that some comparable interdisciplinary work is required to do justice to biological research.

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