philosophy of science

Workshop 4: Gail Davies, ‘Moving mice: Managing emergence in experimental systems‘

Gail Davies (Department of Geography, UCL) opened her presentation stating that her paper is about deviants, mutants, virgins and rogues. Davies emphasised, however, that these are not her terms, but are used by her respondents to talk about the animals in their care. She explained that these are people managing the range of genetically altered mice used in contemporary biomedical research. Further, Davies argued that the terms take us back to the monstrous bodily overspills of early taxonomy. However, she pointed out that the context here is twenty-first century biology. Therefore, Davies proposed that these terms emerge as animal caretakers and scientists seek to understand the challenge that spontaneous mutations in laboratory mice present to their use as experimental objects.  Unexpected happenings in the mouse house either herald a useful new strain of research animal, or they are culled. Gail Davies stated that she is interested in where and when these different outcomes occur – the difference difference makes as it were.  Being a geographer, she read this through the spatiality of these experimental forms, using site as the basis from which to explore whether these moments of biological emergence are able to articulate new potential, or remain excessive to the demands of control in experimental systems.   

Experimenting on ‘The Secret You’

On Tuesday 20th October 2009, as a part of their long-standing series ‘Horizon’, BBC2 screened an episode ‘THE SECRET YOU’ where Professor Marcus de Sautoy explored the issues of experimentality in relation to human self-awareness. The Finding Moonshine blog describes the programme in the following way: ‘[t]o find out what progress they are making Marcus becomes a human guinea-pig in a series of mind probing experiments. He begins by asking when our self awareness emerges and witnesses a cunning test that convincingly reveals a child’s sense of self before they are even capable of talking about what they are feeling. The experiment begs a question: are we alone in the world in being aware of ourselves?’ (http://findingmoonshine.blogspot.com/2009/10/secret-you-horizon-bbc2.html)

Workshop1 - Stephanie Koerner 'Rethinking Art and Science’s Histories – Implications for Cautious Promethean ‘Ways of Knowing’'

Stephanie Koerner (University of Manchester) opened her presentation by arguing that until quite recently very few historians are likely to been receptive to the suggestion that materials hitherto eclipsed by canonical accounts of art, science and modernity might have very direct bearing upon challenges posed by changes taking place in the dynamics of research and teaching institutions, and wider public affairs.

Andrew Baxter

Andrew Baxter

Name

Andrew Baxter

Affiliation

Anthill Agency
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