What does SEPOS stand for?

Socially Engaged Philosophy of Science

This interdisciplinary group of philosophers and scientists meet weekly to discuss papers and projects on the philosophy of science, social engagement with science, and public-facing philosophy and science in general. Some topics have included citizen science, rethinking deficit model pedagogical theories, and the philosophical and scientific work group members are doing outside the group.

In addition we have been working on two papers. The first paper, spearheaded by Lucas Dunlap, is about ways of conceptualizing participatory research. We advocate for a general framework for classifying and assessing approaches to participatory research. In our view, relevant variables in approaches to participatory research include level of public participation in the research, the epistemic and ethical advantages of public participation, and degree of overlap in public participants’ and researchers’ goals. 

The second paper, spearheaded by Melissa Jacquart, is about applying learner-centered pedagogy to science engagement and education contexts. We argue that science engagement that values the expertise and experience of participants will be more successful than a deficit model approach in which the expert scientist simply transmits information to the participant. We expand this general claim into six strategies for a participant-centered model of science engagement: 1) rethink value structures, 2) value the participants, 3) engage with the participants’ belief-value systems, 4) recognize stages of renovation in learning, 5) incorporate metacognition, and 6) utilize participant connections.