Subjectivity and Science I

In the field of science, objectivity, facts, and data are core to our identity as scientists. However, in our current cultural context there is a growing claim that all knowledge is biased and influenced by a myriad of overt and covert agendas. While a minority of people in our current culture maliciously use information as means to change or control others (with no regard for what actually is true), many have long in good faith questioned whether true objectivity is even possible. Therefore, if subjectivity and bias does enter the way we think, the way we create our experiments, the way we process our data, and the implications of our conclusions, it is important to reflect on how we can become more aware of our own tendencies and make choices that limit the impact of those biases. This seminar-styled course will explore this issue through various readings, case studies and structured reflections. We will also engage with the Tan Science Symposium as part of this course as a place to learn more about these issues, apply our learning and work to have science contribute to the common good.