Just out is my new publication in Philosophy of Science, “Experimental Philosophy of Science and Philosophical Differences across the Sciences.” This paper is co-authored with Chad Gonnerman and Michael O’Rourke. This the culmination of research that started as I joined the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative (TDI, but back then still the Toolbox Project) almost 5 years ago.
One of the widespread assumptions in work on interdisciplinarity or interdisciplinary philosophy of science is that the different scientific disciplines are very different and that is why interdisciplinary research is so hard. In particular, they appear to differ in their philosophical commitments. I wanted to test that assumption.
The TDI has conducted workshops with hundreds (if not thousands now) of scientists around the world, soliciting their views on a wide range of issues in philosophy of science. These scientists come from a wide range of disciplines. Even with our large data set, there were too many disciplines and too few representatives from each to analyze philosophical differences between disciplines. But we could look at branches of sciences, such as physical science and social science. Using a very conservative method to guard against false positives, we found several differences, which we detail in the paper.
We presented this work as an example of experimental philosophy of science, which surprisingly is still a small field. Our hope is that this paper can spur additional research suggesting many additional, more focused lines of future inquiry.