Virtue Ethics & Epistemology

Over the last two decades, scholarship in science & technology studies (STS) has shown that successful research requires more than following a certain set of methods or learning particular skills and technical knowledge. Instead, scientific communities (from lab groups to professional societies) encourage their members to develop specific cognitive, emotional, and behavioral dispositions — that is, members are trained to think, feel, and act in certain ways in order to be successful researchers. I’m interested in using virtue theory to understand and analyze this aspect of scientific research, in part because that helps connect STS literature to promising new scholarship in ethics and epistemology.

Virtue theory forms an important part of my new project on economic expertise and democratic politics. But it is also at the center of a major new collaborative project in which was involved on “Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science.”

Relevant publications include:

Stapleford, Thomas A. 2018. “Making and the Virtues: The Ethics of Scientific Research.” Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences 5 (1): 28–50. (Accepted, prepublication version here.)
Reilly, Timothy S., and Thomas A. Stapleford. 2018. “Science, Virtue, and Moral Formation.” Journal of Moral Education 47 (3): 267–71.
Hicks, Daniel J., and Thomas A. Stapleford. 2016. “The Virtues of Scientific Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics, and the Historiography of Science.” Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society 107 (3): 449–72. (Accepted, prepublication version here.)