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Chia-Hua Lin (University of South Carolina/KLI) Toward a Framework for Understanding the Epistemic risks associated with the Cross-disciplinary use of Research Tools
8 October 2018 | 14 h 00 min
Title: Tool Migration: Toward a Framework for Understanding the Epistemic risks associated with the Cross-disciplinary use of Research Tools
Abstract: Mathematical formalisms that are constructed for inquiry in one disciplinary context are sometimes applied to another, a phenomenon that I call ‘tool migration.’ Philosophers of science have addressed the advantages of using migrated tools. In this talk, I focus on the issue of epistemic risks associated with tool migration and argue for a study of tool migration. Using the migrations of game theory as examples, I identify three kinds of epistemic risks related to applying a mathematical construct outside the discipline where it was established as a feasible research tool. These include mischaracterization (i.e., characterizing a new phenomenon with inappropriate assumptions), misinterpretation, (i.e., using ill-fitted background contexts to interpret the result), and misjudgment (i.e., incorrectly rejecting or accepting a novel use of a migrating research tool). I then develop an analytic framework for better understanding the epistemic activities involved in tool migration, especially where in the process epistemic risks may arise and how scientists cope with similar risks.
Bio: Chia-Hua Lin is a philosopher of science completing her PhD at University of South Carolina and recently completed a Writing-up Fellowship at the KLI. Her research focus is on the cross-disciplinary use of research tools. Website: https://sites.google.com/view/chiahualin
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