Valuing Research & Researching Values: How to Bridge the Gaps Between Ethics and Science

This event has been organized by PhD students Matthew Brewer, Matilde Carrera, and Pol Pardini Gispert. The event is also generously sponsored by the American Philosophical Association, the Society for Applied Philosophy, Minorities and Philosophy and various offices within BU: Diversity & Inclusion, the Office of the Senior Diversity Officer, the Center for the Humanities, the Center for Philosophy & History of Science, and the Graduate Student Organization. We thank all our generous sponsors, our speakers, our fellow PhD students in the Philosophy Department, and everybody in attendance for making this event possible.
2024 Keynote Speaker
Professor Kevin Elliott (Michigan State University)
Professor Kevin Elliott holds a joint appointment at Lyman Briggs College, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU. He holds a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science from Notre Dame and is most renowned for his interdisciplinary work on the responsible management of ethical and social values in scientific research. He has engaged in efforts to address financial conflicts of interest and increase diversity in science, among other projects. Prof. Elliott has published numerous well-received monographs, including Is a Little Pollution Good for You?: Incorporating Societal Values in Environmental Research (OUP) and A Tapestry of Values: An Introduction to Values in Science (OUP). His research focuses on the intersection of epistemology and practical ethics, motivated by the idea that philosophers should play a role in determining the shape of research that is inherently value-laden.
Roundtable: Empower Science: Diverse Voices; Ethical Choices
Our conference is centered around three key goals: learn, reflect, and act.
First, the graduate conference offers an occasion to learn about the value-ladenness of scientific choices, by discussing the extent to which values inform scientific practice. Values play a role in science by determining the aims of inquiry, choosing questions and prioritizing certain research projects, designing studies and models, but perhaps most importantly, by deciding who is eligible to practice “real” science and disregarding indigenous expertise.
Second, the roundtable offers a space for participants from BU and other institutions in the Boston area to reflect by engaging in a self-assessment of how the research that undergraduate and graduate students conduct within universities is value-laden. We want to provide a space for dialogue, where philosophers and researchers can meet and engage in a stimulating conversation about how science should be conducted and which values should guide its practice.
Lastly, we want to act based on the suggestions received from our participants. We wish to consider how we might help to ameliorate current scientific practices, including those undertaken at BU, to be better informed by non-western and anti-colonial values.
Graduate Speakers
Colton Llenos (University of Houston)
I’m a Master’s student in Philosophy at the University of Houston. I live with my wife, Karina, and our two dogs in Houston, Texas. My philosophical interests include political philosophy, ethics, metaethics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of mind, among many others. I’m also developing an interest in the ethics of artificial intelligence and would like to explore this field more in-depth in future studies, hopefully in my PhD.
Adam Smith (University of Utah)
I am currently a philosophy PhD candidate at the University of Utah. My dissertation is at the intersection of philosophy of science and political philosophy with a focus on issues relating to emergency and disaster management. I have secondary interests in feminist and social epistemology, philosophy of medicine, philosophy of genetics/biology, and philosophy of disability. Before the University of Utah, I received a BS in genetics and philosophy from Iowa State University and an MA in philosophy from Northern Illinois University.
Qingxuan Pan (Michigan State University)
Qingxuan’s research lies at the intersection of ethics and values in science, with a particular interest in the moral responsibilities of scientists and ethical issues in scientific research, especially with respect to the problem of ethics dumping in the context of international clinical research.
Andrew Baldassarre (University of Houston)
Andrew Baldassarre is a current MA student in Philosophy at the University of Houston, and a Researcher for the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Center on Ethics and Leadership. His research is primarily in the domain of clinical ethics, with a particular focus on the ways social categories contribute to disparities in healthcare outcomes. He also has particular interests in political philosophy and philosophy of science. Outside of academia, he’s an avid and active beekeeper.
Brant Entrekin (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Brant is a 2nd-year PhD student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His primary research interests are in epistemology, especially social epistemology, religious epistemology, and epistemic character. He also has interests in social philosophy, metaphysics, and sexual ethics.
Ilvie Prince (Leibniz University Hannover)
Ilvie Prince is a PhD candidate at Leibniz University Hannover, Germany. Her work focuses on the complex relationship between ethics and epistemology in medicine, with a particular interest in medical practices that challenge established concepts and methods, such as hormonal contraception.