New CAPS publication on philosophical bias in science

One of the main aims of CauseHealth Pharmacovigilance is to communicate in an accessible way to scientists and practitioners the importance of conceptual reflections in scientific practice. For instance, why have certain norms of science become established? and why is it so difficult to question them, even in the cases when they don’t seem so efficient?

This is why our new open-access paper published by the journal eLife is a particularly valuable one. Here, we talk about the radical influence of Basic Implicit Assumptions in Science (BIAS) about the state of the world (what there is, how to know it, and what is right). Although many acknowledge the role of these assumptions in shaping the production and interpretation of scientific results, nobody lists them as bias.

And yet, since basic implicit philosophical assumptions skew everything, from choices of research hypotheses and research design to weight of evidence and interpretation of results in specific directions, they are in effect a type of bias. Researchers should be reminded of being aware of them, exactly like all the other categories of bias

Unlike other biases, however, philosophical basic implicit assumptions cannot be removed from the scientific practice. On the contrary, they are a necessary premise for the scientific enterprise. And yet, we discuss how the importance of choosing them with awareness, rather than  them uncritically.

At our Center for Applied Philosophy of Science we experience that  researchers and students from many fields of science are very interested on discussing philosophical bias once they are made aware of them. In fact, students and early career researchers wish they had more time dedicated to these type of critical discussion in their scientific education.

This is why we think this paper is particularly important, since it communicates such issues to a wider audience and hopefully creates important and constructive duscussions in scientific practice.

Published 19. March 2019 - 11:07 - Updated 19. March 2019 - 11:07