Philosophy of Scientific Practice:

Replication Crisis

Claims about a replication crisis in the experimental sciences have recently led to serious soul-searching amongst scientists, funders and other stakeholders. This led to calls for fundamental changes to the way research is being conducted and funded. 

 

The aim of this project is to re-assess the very foundations on which these wide-ranging policy debates are based. The driving force behind this re-assessment is the worry that currently used concepts of ‘replication’ are not able to capture the phenomenon adequately, thereby leading to a flawed assessment of the status quo. The key goal of the project is to develop an updated conceptual framework that can provide a solid foundation for the debate about revisions to the way science is being done and funded.

Related publications:

Guttinger S. "A new account of replication in the experimental life sciences." Philosophy of Science, (forthcoming).

Guttinger S. "Replications everywhere." BioEssays, 40:1800055, (2018). doi:10.1002/bies.201800055

Ethics of Postgenomic Intervention and Control (EPIC)

The scientific picture of the human body has radically changed in the postgenomic era, moving from a well-defined aggregate of human cells to a multi-species, co-produced process with vague boundaries. These radical shifts in our conceptual landscape have important ramifications for a range of debates.

 

Of particular interest to the EPIC project are debates about the ethics of biomedical interventions and control strategies in the postgenomic era: as our picture of the human body changes, question about the ethics of these interventions also take on a new dimension. This, we claim, represents an under-studied area of biomedical ethics.

 

The EPIC project will in particular focus on two interventions, namely genome editing and vaccination. Both interventions aim at modulating and controlling key parts of the human body (the genome and the immune response). Both are fraught with questions about safety, procedure and long-term ramifications for the well-being of individuals and populations more generally. 

Related publications:

Guttinger S. "The anti-vaccination debate and the microbiome." EMBO Reports, (forthcoming).

Guttinger S. "The Virome and the Anti-Vaccination Debate." The Scientist, June (2017) https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/49602/title/Opinion--The-Virome-and-the-Anti-vaccination-Debate/