Invited Talk on May 7th: Testing Scientific Pluralism: RNA inheritance

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, Sophie Juliane Veigl (PhD candidate at the Department of History, University of Vienna) will give a talk on „Testing Scientific Pluralism: RNA inheritance“:

In recent years, scientific pluralism (SP) has become a popular position in the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology in particular. SP is usually defined as the position, that to fully understand a natural phenomenon, several theories or explanations are required. Scientific pluralists often conduct case studies, in order to show that one specific branch of science is or should become pluralist. There is however an inherent problem to these approaches. While making both normative and descriptive claims about fields of research, philosophers neglect the question of whether their pluralism is resonant with the aims and goals of the actors in the specific research field. In my dissertation I undertake the question of how to approach SP in a way that addresses the problem of SP within a research field. I examine the inheritance of small RNAs and develop a pluralist claim for “Neo-Darwinian” and “Lamarckian” trajectories of inheritance. It is my aim to “test” this arm-chair conjecture through interviewing the “core-set” of investigators of RNA inheritance. In so doing, I aim to answer several questions. Are the researchers pluralists? Do they acknowledge plurality within their field? How does the field present itself to the outside and what is at stake in the inside? How can we describe the dynamics of a field that has to accommodate plurality? Which groups of scientists are defined as opposing the field and how are their aims and motives described? In this talk I will present preliminary results of my case-study and discuss possible implications for SP as a whole.

This event is organised by the Professorship of Science and Technology Policy.

Inquiries: Sophia Rossmann, and Georgia Samaras,

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