CFP: Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science

Submission deadline: March 31, 2021

Topic areas


Call For Papers: The New Demarcation Problem

Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science (Special Issue)

Guest Editors:

Bennett Holman (Yonsei University)


Torsten Wilholt (University of Hannover)

As it becomes accepted that values are an inherent part of scientific inquiry, it has become untenable to define unbiased science as inquiry that is unaffected by the values of the inquirers.  At the same time, there clearly seem to be cases of biased science that cross a line between the inevitable management of epistemic risk in the light of value judgments and an epistemically inadmissible distortion of the research process. The question of just where and how this line is to be drawn is what we propose to call the New Demarcation Problem.

The recent literature on science and values is rich with candidate criteria that could potentially be applied to demarcate epistemically inadmissible bias: the kinds of values that influence methodological decisions, the precise ways in which they do so, the degree to which the resulting bias is prone to undermine epistemic trust in science, the ways in which they militate against conventional standards of the research community, or discrepancies between how the research is presented and how it is actually done (“false advertising”), to name just a few. A principled choice of one or several demarcation criteria will also depend on the precise sense in which distorting bias is analyzed as “epistemically inadmissible”. Over and above contributing to an elucidation of the notoriously murky concept of “bias”, we hope that a solution to the New Demarcation Problem can also be useful in applied and policy concepts. 

We believe that the New Demarcation Problem deserves serious philosophical scrutiny from scholars who interested in thinking through the role of values in science and/or the effect of industry-funding on scientific inquiry.  Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

Ø  - Answers to the New Demarcation Problem.

Ø  - A critique of the proposed distinction

Ø  - A history of the old demarcation problem with a look to the relation between it and the new demarcation problem

Ø  - Studies in applied contexts in which the distinction may become relevant and how that influences how the question should be framed.

Ø  - Could a successful answer to the new demarcation problem have any practical uses outside of philosophy or is it a purely academic matter?

Submission deadline (hard) of March, 31st 2021. 

All papers will be subject to double-blind peer-review.  Manuscripts should be submitted online through the Studies Editorial Manager: article type for your submission by selecting “S.I.: New Demarcation Problem” from the relevant drop-down menu.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.

Bennett Holman ([email protected])

Torsten Wilholt ([email protected])

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