Hans Radder

Hans Radder is professor emeritus in philosophy of science and technology at the Department of Philosophy of VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Bielefeld, Germany.

From Commodification to the Common Good

Reconstructing Science, Technology, and Society

The commodification of science—often identified with commercialization, or the selling of expertise and research results and the “capitalization of knowledge” in academia and beyond—has been investigated as a threat to the autonomy of science and academic culture and criticized for undermining the social responsibility of modern science. In From Commodification to the Common Good, Hans Radder revisits the commodification of the sciences from a philosophical perspective to focus instead on a potential alternative, the notion of public-interest science. Scientific knowledge, he argues, constitutes a common good only if it serves those affected by the issues at stake, irrespective of commercial gain. Scrutinizing the theory and practices of scientific and technological patenting, Radder challenges the legitimacy of commercial monopolies and the private appropriation and exploitation of research results. His book invites us to reevaluate established laws and to question doctrines and practices that may impede or even prohibit scientific research and social progress so that we might achieve real and significant transformations in service of the common good.

The Commodification of Academic Research

Science and the Modern University

Edited By Hans Radder

Selling science has become a common practice in contemporary universities. This commodification of academia pervades many aspects of higher education, including research, teaching, and administration. As such, it raises significant philosophical, political, and moral challenges. This volume offers the first book-length analysis of this disturbing trend from a philosophical perspective and presents views by scholars of philosophy of science, social and political philosophy, and research ethics. The epistemic and moral responsibilities of universities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, are examined from several philosophical standpoints. The contributors discuss the pertinent epistemological and methodological questions, the sociopolitical issues of the organization of science, the tensions between commodified practices and the ideal of “science for the public good,” and the role of governmental regulation and personal ethical behavior. In order to counter coercive and corruptive influences of academic commodification, the contributors consider alternatives to commodified research and offer practical recommendations for establishing appropriate research standards, methodologies and institutional arrangements, and a corresponding normative ethos.

The World Observed/The World Conceived

Observation and conceptual interpretation constitute the two major ways through which human beings engage the world. The World Observed/The World Conceived presents an innovative analysis of the nature and role of observation and conceptualization. While these two actions are often treated as separate, Hans Radder shows that they are inherently interconnected-that materially realized observational processes are always conceptually interpreted and that the meaning of concepts depends on the way they structure observational processes and abstract from them. He examines the role of human action and conceptualization in realizing observational processes and develops a detailed theory of the relationship between observation, abstraction, and the meaning of concepts.

The World Observed/The World Conceived will prove useful to many areas of scholarly study including ontology, epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, science studies, and cognitive science.

Science Transformed?

Debating Claims of an Epochal Break

Advancements in computing, instrumentation, robotics, digital imaging, and simulation modeling have changed science into a technology-driven institution. Government, industry, and society increasingly exert their influence over science, raising questions of values and objectivity. These and other profound changes have led many to speculate that we are in the midst of an epochal break in scientific history.

This edited volume presents an in-depth examination of these issues from philosophical, historical, social, and cultural perspectives. It offers arguments both for and against the epochal break thesis in light of historical antecedents. Contributors discuss topics such as: science as a continuing epistemological enterprise; the decline of the individual scientist and the rise of communities; the intertwining of scientific and technological needs; links to prior practices and ways of thinking; the alleged divide between mode-1 and mode-2 research methods; the commodification of university science; and the shift from the scientific to a technological enterprise. Additionally, they examine the epochal break thesis using specific examples, including the transition from laboratory to real world experiments; the increased reliance on computer imaging; how analog and digital technologies condition behaviors that shape the object and beholder; the cultural significance of humanoid robots; the erosion of scientific quality in experimentation; and the effect of computers on prediction at the expense of explanation.

Whether these events represent a historic break in scientific theory, practice, and methodology is disputed. What they do offer is an important occasion for philosophical analysis of the epistemic, institutional and moral questions affecting current and future scientific pursuits.

The Philosophy Of Scientific Experimentation

Since the late 1980s, the neglect of experiment by philosophers and historians of science has been replaced by a keen interest in the subject. In this volume, a number of prominent philosophers of experiment directly address basic theoretical questions, develop existing philosophical accounts, and offer novel perspectives on the subject, rather than rely exclusively on historical cases of experimental practice.
Each essay examines one or more of six interconnected themes that run throughout the collection: the philosophical implications of actively and intentionally interfering with the material world while conducting experiments; issues of interpretation regarding causality; the link between science and technology; the role of theory in experimentation involving material and causal intervention; the impact of modeling and computer simulation on experimentation; and the philosophical implications of the design, operation, and use of scientific instruments.