Research stuff

The GM controversy

The controversy over genetically modified [GM] crops is frequently framed in terms of health and public ignorance: members of the public are primarily worried about health hazards to human consumers, and so the controversy persists because the public is ignorant of the scientific evidence showing that GM foods are safe to eat. A primary aim of my research is to complicate and challenge this framing. Both substantial social scientific research on the controversy and attention to the actual concerns raised by opponents of GM crops show that opponents also have environmental, economic, and political concerns. As a basic logical point, these concerns cannot be addressed by any amount of evidence concerning the safety of GM foods.

In addition, I am interested in GM crop yields research as a case study of the interaction between values (especially commercial interests and rival views of food production), the methods that scientists use to study complex biological and social systems, and technology development.

Scholarly publications

Blog posts

Other works

Science and values

The corner of philosophy of science called "science and values" deals with the role of ethical and political values in scientific research. For the last two or three decades of the twentieth century, the primary debate in science and values was whether values had any legitimate role to play in science. Today many, though not all, experts working in science and values agree that some ethical and political values have some legitimate roles in every aspect or stage of research, including the evaluation and acceptance of hypotheses. I have argued that, consequently, the primary question facing us today is how to separate legitimate and illegitimate cases. What separates the positive influence of feminism in various social science and fields of biology from the negative influence of commercial values in pharmaceutical research scandals? I believe that these questions are best answered by engaging with work in ethics, political philosophy, and sociology.

Scholarly publications

Blog posts

Other works

Feminist philosophy

Feminist philosophy provides an important paradigm for academic work that is simultaneously rigorous, socially relevant, and committed to substantive ethical and political values. Feminist philosophy shows that good philosophy — and by extension, other research — does not need to be value-free, and indeed that substantive value commitments can lead to important and useful insights.

Scholarly publications

Manuscripts, drafts, works-in-progress

Click the line above to visit a Google Drive folder with publicly-available drafts. Please keep in mind that all of these are drafts, and not for quotation or publication. Since I do generally hope to publish them eventually, documents may be removed from the Google Drive folder without notice for purposes of anonymous review. You may circulate these drafts freely, and comments are highly appreciated.

Blogs


Unless stated explicitly, all views and opinions expressed on this page are those of Dan Hicks, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AAAS, the EPA, or any other agency or organization.