septembre 25, 2019
Salle Ladrière - Collège Mercier - Place Cardinal Mercier 14
Digital Humanities as Empirical Philosophy of Science
Charles H. Pence and Luca Rivelli [with Oliver Lean, in absentia]
It’s a commonplace that the philosophy of science should, in principle, be able to offer normative recommendations to scientists about how to do science well – just as scientists themselves can, and often do. If we are to do so successfully, our philosophy had better be suitably empirical; that is, it should be in contact with the facts on the ground about scientific practice and the concrete problems it faces. But increasingly, with the development of empirical methods in philosophy of science, this drive appears to land philosophy in an identity crisis: In what sense would this empirical philosophy remain philosophy, rather than becoming absorbed into science? In this talk, we address this question focusing on case studies from the digital humanities; namely, the large-scale analysis of scientific literature through principled empirical methods. In particular, we will argue, philosophers engage in forms of normatively relevant abstraction and self-reflection that are made much more perspicuous via the application of digital-humanities (and, by extension, other empirical) tools.