OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

‘Philosophy Talk’ to visit OSU for discussion on science, politics

04/08/2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The nationally syndicated public radio show “Philosophy Talk” will visit Oregon State University on Wednesday, April 15, for a live taping.

The show will focus on the theme “Science and Politics – Friends or Foes” with featured guest Sharyn Clough, an associate professor of philosophy in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts.

The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Withycombe Theater, 2921 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis. It is free and open to the public, and there will be an opportunity for audience participation.

Show hosts Ken Taylor and John Perry, both of Stanford University, will lead the discussion with questions such as: Could politics sometimes have a positive effect on objectivity in science? If so, which kinds of politics might have a positive effect and which might not? What criteria could we use to make the distinction? And does 'objectivity' still have meaning in this context?

Clough teaches courses in the study of knowledge with an emphasis on scientific knowledge. Her research focuses on objectivity and values in science. She has written and edited books on feminism and science, and has written a number of scholarly essays on science and values. She is writing a book for general audiences on science and politics.

“I plan to discuss some of the biggest mistaken assumptions in contemporary debates about politics and science – that politics in science is always a bad thing, and that political values are subjective, floating free of considerations of evidence,” Clough said.

“I argue that while science is never without political influences, some politics make science better and some make it worse, and we can tell the difference,” she said. “We might make mistakes and disagree about the evidence in either case, but that shouldn’t stop us from seeing that there is evidence in both cases to consider.”

The show is scheduled to air in June. “Philosophy Talk” airs on dozens of public radio stations internationally, including on the radio network of Oregon Public Broadcasting. On OPB, the show is broadcast at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

College of Liberal Arts

About the OSU College of Liberal Arts: The College of Liberal Arts includes the fine and performing arts, humanities and social sciences, making it one of the largest and most diverse colleges at OSU. The college's research and instructional faculty members contribute to the education of all university students and provide national and international leadership, creativity and scholarship in their academic disciplines.