Models And Trust: Highlighting Issues Across Science

Demarcating Research from Pseudo-Research

Nick Huggett (University of Illinois, Chicago)

One manifestation of a lack of trust in science is the view that to ‘do your own research’ (say, by cherry picking online searches to find confirming opinions), is as sound a method as rigorous empirical investigation. In this talk I wish to consider ways in which the distinction between such ‘pseudo-research’ and (scientific) research is or is not illuminated in useful ways by familiar work on the related contrast between pseudoscience and science (such as Thagard, 1978). I will argue with examples that philosophy of experimentation can provide conceptual tools to aid public understanding of experimental research: e.g., (with qualifications), Hacking (1988) on the epistemic autonomy of experiment, and Strevens (2020) on the excruciating standards of experiment. While the importance of experiment is recognized in philosophy of science, it is sometimes neglected, and tends not to be foregrounded in more public-oriented work.