Advertisement

Life Sciences for Philosophers and Philosophy for Life Scientists: What Should We Teach?

  • Giovanni BonioloEmail author
  • Raffaella Campaner
Notes from the Field

Abstract

Following recent debate on the relations between philosophy of science and the sciences, we wish to draw attention to some actual ways of training both young philosophers of science and young life scientists and clinicians. First, we recall a successful case of training philosophers of the life sciences in a strictly scientific environment. Second, after a brief review of the reasons why life scientists and clinicians are currently asking for more ethics, more methodology of science, and more philosophy of science in the training of life scientists and clinicians, we present two training models that could spur the discussion on how to meet the requests coming from the scientific community. We argue that in order to reflect on mutual relations between philosophy of science and the sciences and to foster proper interactions, issues regarding (1) the topics considered, (2) the features of educational curricula, and (3) the institutional organizations should be addressed jointly.

Keywords

Need for the philosophy of science Philosophical curricula Philosophy of science for life scientists and clinicians Science for philosophers of science Scientific curricula 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Thomas Pradeu for his useful comments on a previous version of the paper and three anonymous reviewers whose suggestions have helped to improve this article.

References

  1. Altenberg L (2015) Statistical problems in a paper on variation in cancer risk among tissues, and new discoveries. arXiv:1501.04605
  2. Amey L, Donald KJ, Teodorczuk A (2017) Teaching clinical reasoning to medical students. Br J Hosp Med 78(7):399–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andreoletti M (2016) Reproducibility: hallmark labs with a replicability record. Nature 537:34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andreoletti M, Maugeri P (2019) Does medicine need philosophy? Oral Dis 25:1419–1422.  https://doi.org/10.1111/odi.13143 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Andreoletti M, Teira D (2019) Rules versus standards: what are the costs of epistemic norms in drug regulation? Sci Technol Human Values 44:1093–1115.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0162243919828070 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baker M (2016) Dutch agency launches first grants programme dedicated to replication; three-year pilot devotes €3 million to verifying other studies. Nat News.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature.2016.20287 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Begley CG, Ioannidis JP (2015) Reproducibility in science: improving the standard for basic and preclinical research. Circ Res 116:116–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boem F, Ratti E, Andreoletti M, Boniolo G (2016) Why genes are like lemons. Stud Hist Philos Biol Biomed Sci 57:88–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boniolo G, Vaccari T (2012) Publishing: alarming shift away from sharing results. Nature 488:157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Boon M, Van Baalen S (2019) Epistemology for interdisciplinary research—shifting philosophical paradigms of science. Eur J Philos Sci 9:16.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s13194-018-0242-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bosch G (2018) Train PhD students to be thinkers not just specialists. Nature 554(7692):277.  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-01853-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bosch G, Casadevall A (2017) Graduate biomedical science education needs a new philosophy. mBio 8:e01539.  https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01539-17 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Casadevall A (2015) Put the “Ph” back in PhD. Johns Hopkins Public Health, Summer 2015. http://magazine.jhsph.edu/2015/summer/forum/rethinking-put-the-ph-back-in-phd/
  14. Casadevall A, Fang FC (2010) Reproducible science. Infect Immun 78:4972–4975CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Casadevall A, Fang FC (2012) Reforming science: methodological and cultural reforms. Infect Immun 80:891–896CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cohen J (2018) What now for human genome editing? Science 362(6419):1090–1092CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Corbyn Z (2012) Misconduct is the main cause of life-sciences retractions. Opaque announcements in journals can hide fraud, study finds. Nature 490:21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Couzin-Frankel J (2013) Shaking up science. Science 339:386–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cyranoski D (2018) First CRISPR babies: six questions that remain. Nature.  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07607-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cyranoski D, Ledford H (2018) Genome-edited baby claim provokes international outcry. Nature 563:607–608.  https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07545-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Edwards MA, Siddhartha R (2017) Academic research in the 21st century: maintaining scientific integrity in a climate of perverse incentives and hypercompetition. Environ Eng Sci 234:51–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elizondo Omaña RE et al (2010) Teaching skills to promote clinical reasoning in early basic science courses. Anat Sci Educ 3(5):267–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fang FC, Casadevall A (2011) Retracted science and the retraction index. Infect Immun 79:3855–3859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ferretti G, Linkeviciute A, Boniolo G (2017) Comprehending and communicating statistics in breast cancer screening. Ethical implications and potential solutions. In: Gadebusch-Bondio M, Spöring F, Gordon J-S (eds) Medical ethics, prediction and prognosis: interdipliplinary perspectives. Routledge, New York, pp 30–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fineberg HV (2017) Conflict of interest: why does it matter? JAMA 317(17):1717–1718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fontanarosa P, Bauchner H (2017) Conflict of interest and medical journals. JAMA 317(17):1768–1771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Freedman LP, Inglese J (2014) The increasing urgency for standards in basic biologic. Cancer Res 74:4024–4029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Freedman LP, Cockburn IM, Simcoe TS (2015) The economics of reproducibility in preclinical research. PLoS Biol 13:e1002165.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002165 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fulford W (1991) The potential of medicine as a resource for philosophy. Theor Med 12(1):81–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gay S, Bartlett M, McKinley R (2013) Teaching clinical reasoning to medical students. Clin Teach 10(5):308–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Germain P-L, Ratti E, Boem F (2014) Junk or functional DNA? ENCODE and the function controversy. Biol Philos 29:807–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ginsburg S, Levinson W (2017) Is there a conflict of interest? JAMA 317(17):1796–1797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grüne-Yanoff T (2014) Teaching philosophy of science to scientists: why, what and how. Eur J Philos Sci 4:115–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hartgerink CH (2015) Research misconduct: speed translation of misconduct reports. Nature 522:419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Horbach SPJM, Halffman W (2016) Promoting virtue or punishing fraud: mapping contrasts in the language of ‘scientific integrity’. Sci Eng Ethics 23(6):1461–1485.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11948-016-9858-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ioannidis JP (2005) Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med 2:e124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ioannidis JP (2011) An epidemic of false claims. Competition and conflicts of interest distort too many medical findings. Sci Am 304:16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jarvis MF, Williams M (2016) Irreproducibility in preclinical biomedical research: perceptions, uncertainties, and knowledge gaps. Trends Pharmacol Sci 37:290–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kurzenhäuser S, Hoffrage U (2002) Teaching Bayesian reasoning: an evaluation of a classroom tutorial for medical students. Med Teach 24(5):516–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Laplane L et al (2019) Why science needs philosophy. PNAS 116(10):3948–3952CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Loong T-W (2003) Understanding sensitivity and specificity with the right side of the brain. BMJ 327:716–719CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Losee J (1972) A historical introduction to the philosophy of science. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  43. Maugeri P, Blasimme A (2011) Humanised models of cancer in molecular medicine: the experimental control of disanalogies. Hist Philos Life Sci 33:603–622Google Scholar
  44. McCoy MS, Emanuel EJ (2017) Why there are no “potential” conflicts of interest. JAMA 317(17):1721–1722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Munafò MR, Nosek BA, Bishop DVM, Button KS, Chambers CD, Percie du Sert N et al (2017) A manifesto for reproducible science. Nat Hum Behav 1:0021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nardini C, Sprenger J (2013) Bias and conditioning in sequential medical trials. Philos Sci 80:1053–1064CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Normile D (2018) For China, a CRISPR first goes too far. Science 362(6419):1091CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Nuzzo R (2014) Scientific method: statistical errors. P values, the ‘gold standard’ of statistical validity, are not as reliable as many scientists assume. Nature 506:150–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Oldroyd R (1986) The arch of knowledge: an introductory study of the history of the philosophy and methodology of science. Routledge Kegan & Paul, AbingdonGoogle Scholar
  50. Pradeu T (2017) Thirty years of Biology & Philosophy: philosophy of which biology? Biol Philos 32(2):149–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Prather CM, Choate DM, Michel MJ, Crowl TA (2009) Putting the “Ph” back into “PhD”: framing graduate research in a theoretical context. Front Ecol Environ 7:389–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Quintero GA (2014) Medical education and the healthcare system—why does the curriculum need to be reformed? BMC Med 12:213.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-014-0213-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rehg E, SmithBattler L (2015) On to the ‘rough ground’: introducing doctoral students to philosophical perspectives on knowledge. Nurs Philos 16(2):98–109.  https://doi.org/10.1111/nup.12077 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Resnik DB, Wager E, Kissling GE (2015) Retraction policies of top scientific journals ranked by impact factor. J Med Libr Assoc 103:136–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sanchini V, Bonizzi G, Monturano M, Pece S, Viale G, Di Fiore PP et al (2016) Research biobanks: why information and information-based consents are not enough. Bioethics 30:260–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Smith R (2016) Medicine’s need for philosophy. In: the BMJ opinion. http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2016/04/08/richard-smith-medicines-need-for-philosophy/. Accessed 8 Apr 2016
  57. Snow CP (1961) The two cultures and the scientific revolution: the Rede Lecture 1959. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  58. Spike J (1991) The need for teaching philosophy in medical education. Theor Med 12(4):359–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Steen RG, Casadevall A, Fang FC (2013) Why has the number of scientific retractions increased? PLoS ONE 8:e68397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Thornton JP (2017) Conflict of interest and legal issues for investigators and authors. JAMA 317(17):1761–1762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Velickovic V (2015) What everyone should know about statistical correlation. A common analytical error hinders biomedical research and misleads the public. Am Sci 103:26–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wager E, Williams P (2011) Why and how do journals retract articles? An analysis of medline retractions 1988–2008. J Med Ethics 37:567–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wegwarth O, Schwartz LM, Woloshin S, Gaissmaier W, Gigerenzer G (2012) Do physicians understand cancer screening statistics? A national survey of primary care physicians in the United States. Ann Intern Med 156:340–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Yong E, Ledford H, Van Norden R (2013) Research ethics: 3 ways to blow the whistle. Reporting suspicions of scientific fraud is rarely easy, but some paths are more effective than others. Nature 503:454–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical and Surgical SciencesUniversità degli Studi di FerraraFerraraItaly
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy and Communication StudiesUniversità degli Studi di BolognaBolognaItaly

Personalised recommendations