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Philosophical issues in research funding allocation

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  • 1-1.30pm: Tea
  • 1.30-3pm: Talk by Prof. Heather Douglas followed by discussion
  • 3-3.30pm: Tea
  • 3.30-5pm: Talk by Prof. Donald Gillies followed by discussion


Professor Heather Douglas, University of Waterloo, Canada

Heather Douglas, recently appointed to the Wolfe Chair in Science and Society at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, is the author of the influential book Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal which explores the necessary role of values in scientific practice and in science-policy relations. Prof Douglas focuses on the proper understanding of science given its important role in public policy. She has particular interests in the role of values in scientific reasoning, the epistemic constraints that could help us weigh complex sets of evidence, the history of philosophy of science in the 20th century, and how to theorise science as a process embedded in society.

Professor Donald Gillies, University College London, UK

Donald Gillies is an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Science and Mathematics at University College London. In his recent book How Should Research be Organised? Prof Gillies has applied results from the history and philosophy of science to the problem of assessing the research assessment exercise (RAE). The conclusion reached is that the RAE is likely to make the research output of the UK worse rather than better. Prof Gillies began graduate studies in 1966 in Professor Sir Karl Popper’s department at the London School of Economics, and he completed his PhD on the Foundations of Probability in 1970 with Professor Imre Lakatos as his supervisor. His main research areas have been philosophy of science, particularly foundations of probability, and philosophy of logic and mathematics. Since 1990 he has been researching into the interactions between artificial intelligence and various branches of philosophy, including logic, scientific method, probability and causality. Around 2000 he became interested in how philosophy of science applies to medicine.

This talk is part of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science series.

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