Thanks to a series of academic and policy opportunities, I’ve been able to work on a variety of multidisciplinary research topics, using a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. This page briefly describes some of my major research interests, including links to relevant publications. A full list of papers and other research outputs can be found on my ORCID profile.
Academic institutional effectiveness
Conceptual frameworks from philosophy of science, science and technology studies, and science policy; analytic methods from statistics and data science; and institutional data sources can be combined to support understanding of how science operates. Some of the specific questions I’ve examined in this area include:
- Is novel toxicological research at the Environmental Protection Agency integrated into the broader research community?
- How have interdisciplinary funding programs fostered novel collaborations in fields such as robotics and genomics?
- What factors predict whether underrepresented groups will major in philosophy?
- What conceptual frameworks can be used to understand the academic politics of research metrics?
- How can article metadata and text mining methods be used to uncover forgotten contributions of women to philosophy of science?
Other current projects in this area include collaborations with the UC Davis Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Diversity and the Academic Placement Data and Analysis [APDA] project at UC Merced.
- Hicks, Daniel J., Carl Stahmer, and MacKenzie Smith. 2018. “Impacting Capabilities: A Conceptual Framework for the Social Value of Research.” Frontiers in Research Metrics and Analytics 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/frma.2018.00024.
- Hicks, Daniel. 2017. “The Underproduction of Philosophy PhDs.” Daily Nous. December 18, 2017. http://dailynous.com/2017/12/18/underproduction-philosophy-phds-daniel-hicks/.
- Hicks, Daniel J. 2016. “Bibliometrics for Social Validation.” PLOS ONE 11 (12): e0168597. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0168597.
Public scientific controversies
Public scientific controversies are my entry point into discussions of science policy and the role of expertise in democracy. Traditional models of such controversies focus on gaps between “scientists” and “the public,” and explain these gaps in terms of public ignorance and irrationality. In contrast, my models incorporate ideas of power, structural oppression, and democratic accountability, in line with my background in feminist philosophy of science and political philosophy.
I am many different specific issues that fall under the heading of “public scientific controversies.” Some of my current work in this area addresses ideals of transparency and fairness in algorithmic injustice (robotics and artificial intelligence), as well as controversies over obesity and pesticide regulation.
- Hicks, D. J. 2018. “The Safety of Autonomous Vehicles: Lessons from Philosophy of Science.” IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 37 (1): 62–69. https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2018.2795123.
- Hicks, Daniel J. 2017. “Scientific Controversies as Proxy Politics.” Issues in Science and Technology, January 2017. http://issues.org/33-2/scientific-controversies-as-proxy-politics/
- GMO project
- Hicks, Daniel J. 2017. “Genetically Modified Crops, Inclusion, and Democracy.” Perspectives on Science, July, 488–520. https://doi.org/10.1162/POSC_a_00251.
- Hicks, Daniel J. 2015. “Epistemological Depth in a GM Crops Controversy.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 50 (April): 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2015.02.002.
Science and values
This is the most disciplinary or narrowly philosophical topic among my major research interests. My dissertation (Notre Dame 2012) developed Alasdair MacIntyre’s conception of a social practice, informed by feminist philosophy, and applied this conception to the then-current debate over the ideal of value-free science. Since finishing my dissertation, I’ve become known for defending a distinctively Aristotelean version of the “aims approach” to values in science.
Due to the nature of my employment over the last several years, I’ve been unable to devote much time to narrowly philosophical work. I have been able to give presentations in which I apply and defend my version of the “aims approach” to topics such as academic freedom and “dangerous ideas,” open science, and objectivity. Given the opportunity, I would like to spend some time writing up and publishing these talks.
- Hicks, Daniel J., and Thomas A. Stapleford. 2016. “The Virtues of Scientific Practice: MacIntyre, Virtue Ethics, and the Historiography of Science.” Isis 107 (3): 449–72. https://doi.org/10.1086/688346.
- Hicks, Daniel J. 2014. “A New Direction for Science and Values.” Synthese 191 (14): 3271–95. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-014-0447-9.
- Hicks, Dan. 2011. “On the Ideal of Autonomous Science.” Philosophy of Science 78 (5): 1235–48. https://doi.org/10.1086/662255.
Last updated March 14, 2019