University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar > What empirical network analysis could offer to Integrated HPS

What empirical network analysis could offer to Integrated HPS

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  • UserCatherine Herfeld (University of Zurich)
  • ClockWednesday 04 May 2022, 13:00-14:30
  • HouseZoom.

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In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency in history of science and philosophy of science to use formal and empirical methods. Experimental and ethnographic tools, formal modeling, simulation techniques, and computational methods have been applied to study the spread of (mis-)information, the division of cognitive labor, the historical emergence of research fields, and the role of human social interaction in knowledge production. While the exact contribution of those methods to both fields is a matter of debate, their use has certainly been fueled by an abundance of available data relevant to study the development, the social organization, and the procedures of science. In this paper, I propose that this tendency in both, philosophy and history of science, has promising methodological implications for Integrated History and Philosophy of Science (&HPS). Specifically, I discuss the usefulness of empirical network analysis, a quantitative-empirical approach that – so I argue – has much to offer to &HPS. Empirical network analysis is particularly useful for research in &HPS because it has the potential to mitigate a number of methodological challenges that arise from using the historical case study methodology. However, while empirical network analysis has more advantages for &HPS than prima facie visible, it should not replace more traditional philosophical methods but must rely on them to fully develop its potentials.

This talk is part of the CamPoS (Cambridge Philosophy of Science) seminar series.

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