Tuesday 4 April, 2.30 PM, SALA ENZO PACI (via Festa del Perdono, 7)

Carlo Martini (TINT, Helsinki): 'Trust and objectivity in think tank research'

Philosophers have discussed extensively about objectivity of scientific research, and some have even suggested there might be too much discussion about objectivity, and too little about the substantial question regarding scientific research, i.e. can we trust scientists? Can we trust scientific methods? In this paper we focus on trusting scientists, and, while incidentally we will have to discuss some of the accounts of scientific objectivity that have been put forth in the literature, the substantial question will be “how can scientists be trusted?” The focus of this paper will not be on traditional academic research, but rather on think tank research. Currently, there are very few academic studies on think tanks and on think tank research, and in philosophy of science, the topic has been left mostly unexplored.

Studying think tank research is not only useful for philosophers interested in practical implications of science, but has a useful philosophical purpose as well: It is though the comparison of standards and norms in academic research and in think tank research that we can highlight some of the limitations of current accounts of scientific objectivity in the philosophy of science literature.

With this paper we try to achieve two goals: (a) we contrast think tank research with academic research in order to probe current accounts of trust and objectivity in scientific research. We propose that scientific research can be trusted (and objective) when it has a “public face”. Secondly, (b) we provide an empirical assessment of think tank research in terms of the normative standards of trust which we put forth in the first sections of the paper: i.e., we ask the question whether think tank researchers have a “public face”.

Tuesday 16 May, 2.30 PM, Biblioteca di Politeia (via Festa del Perdono, 7)

Riccardo Viale (University of Milano-Bicocca): 'Embodied ecological rationality'

Ecological Rationality (introduced by the group of Gigerenzer, Hertwig, Todd  and colleagues at Max Planck Institute  for Human Development in Berlin) is the well known attempt to develop empirically the prescriptive side of bounded rationality model  in heuristic decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Contrary to the main stream of behavioral economics (whose main interest is the comparison of human decision making with normative rational models) its focus is on the structure of the environment and on the relative successful adaptive behaviour. Few neurocognitive studies have been realized to explain the neural mechanism of the adaptive  success of heuristic decision making. My hypothesis is that the Embodied Cognition approach and in particular the models of embodied perception and emotion might give some cues for understanding the intuitive features of  Recognition Based and One-Reason Based heuristics in particular the  Take-the-First and Take-the-Best heuristics.