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Data-Centric BiologyA Philosophical Study$
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Sabina Leonelli

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226416335

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226416502.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 October 2019

Handling Data to Produce Knowledge

Handling Data to Produce Knowledge

Chapter:
(p.176) 7 Handling Data to Produce Knowledge
Source:
Data-Centric Biology
Author(s):

Sabina Leonelli

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226416502.003.0008

Chapter 7 focuses on the processes through which data are situated within specific contexts of inquiry. I start from the notion of ‘research context’ itself, which remains under-theorized within philosophy despite the importance that is routinely attributed to it in assessing the background, development and results of science. Using insights from John Dewey’s pragmatist logic of inquiry, I reflect on what constitutes context in scientific research and how this notion can be used to better understand and investigate, rather than dismiss or discount, its social and material nature. My analysis of data journeys in biology illustrates how what counts as data is strongly intertwined with what counts as context for their interpretation, and for whom, at any point of their travels. What counts as data can therefore vary considerably, and how these variations are managed matters enormously to the development and results of scientific inquiry.

Keywords:   inference from data, situations, scientific epistemology, research context, data epistemology, process epistemology

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