1st Edition

A Guide to Field Philosophy Case Studies and Practical Strategies

Edited By Evelyn Brister, Robert Frodeman Copyright 2020
    396 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    396 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Philosophers increasingly engage in practical work with other disciplines and the world at large. This volume draws together the lessons learned from this work—including philosophers’ contributions to scientific research projects, consultations on matters of policy, and expertise provided to government agencies and non-profits—on how to effectively practice philosophy. Its 22 case studies are organized into five sections:

    I Collaboration and Communication

    II Policymaking and the Public Sphere

    III Fieldwork in the Academy

    IV Fieldwork in the Professions

    V Changing Philosophical Practice

    Together, these essays provide a practical, how-to guide for doing philosophy in the field—how to find problems that can benefit from philosophical contributions, effectively collaborate with other professionals and community members, make fieldwork a positive part of a philosophical career, and anticipate and negotiate the sorts of unanticipated problems that crop up in direct public engagement.

    Key features:

    • Gives specific advice on how to integrate philosophy with outside groups.
    • Offers examples from working with the public and private sectors, community organizations, and academic groups.
    • Provides lessons learned, often summarized at the end of chapters, for how to practice philosophy in the field.

    1. Digging, Sowing, Building: Philosophy as Activity  Evelyn Brister and Robert Frodeman

    Part I: Collaboration and Communication

    2. Embedding Ethics in Neural Engineering: An Integrated Transdisciplinary Collaboration  Sara Goering and Eran Klein

    3. Lab Report: Lessons from a Multi-Year Collaboration between Nanoscience and Philosophy of Science  Julia R.S. Bursten

    4. Philosophical Dialogue as Field Philosophy  Michael O’Rourke, Stephanie E. Vasko, Chet McLeskey, and Marisa A. Rinkus

    5. Ethics Lab: Harnessing Design Methodologies for Translational Ethics  Margaret Little, Elizabeth Edenberg, Sydney Luken, and Jonathan Healey

    Part II: Policymaking and the Public Sphere

    6. Learning to Collaborate in Development Policy  Ryan Muldoon

    7. Philosophy in the IPCC  John Broome

    8. Philosophy and Science Policy: A Report from the Field  J. Britt Holbrook

    9. Philosophical Boundary Work for Wildlife Conservation: The Case of the Oostvaardersplassen  Jozef Keulartz

    10. Values-Informed Decision Support: The Place of Philosophy  Nancy Tuana

    Part III: Fieldwork in the Academy

    11. University Leadership as Philosophical Fieldwork  Daniel Little

    12. We Are Always Already Engaged: Epistemological Fieldwork in the Real World of the University  Naomi Scheman

    13. Promoting Ethics in STEM and Society  Rachelle Hollander

    14. A Philosopher’s Field Guide to Talking with Engineers  Don Howard

    15. Ecotourism with a Hand-Lens: A Field Environmental Philosophy Experience from the South of the World  Ricardo Rozzi, María Teresa La Valle, Shaun Russell, Bernard Goffinet, and Francisca Massardo

    Part IV: Fieldwork in the Professions

    16. Balancing Theoretical Autonomy and Practical Engagement  Tsjalling Swierstra and Merel Noorman

    17. The Cutting Edge: A Surgical Case Study in Field Philosophy  Jane Johnson

    18. Advocating for Human Trafficking Victims  Roksana Alavi

    19. Field Philosophy in an Actual Field  Paul B. Thompson

    Part V: Changing Philosophical Practice

    20. Grassroots Philosophy and Going against the Grain  Alisa Bierria

    21. Philosophy and Addiction: Understanding and Transforming Suffering  Peg O’Connor

    22. Formal Epistemology in a Tropical Savanna  Sahotra Sarkar

    23. Learning from a Fracking Fracas  Adam Briggle

    24. The Future of Field Philosophy: Lessons Learned and Next Steps  Evelyn Brister, Robert Frodeman, and Adam Briggle


    Evelyn Brister is Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at Rochester Institute of Technology. She has a PhD in Philosophy and an MS in Environmental Science, and she has written articles on the philosophy of sustainability, environmental decision-making, interdisciplinary collaboration, and scientific objectivity.

    Robert Frodeman has taught at the University of Colorado and the University of North Texas. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and an MS in Environmental Science, and his research ranges across environmental philosophy and public policy, the philosophy of science and technology, and the philosophy of interdisciplinarity. He is the author or editor of 16 books, including the Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity (2010 and 2017) and Transhumanism, Nature, and the Ends of Science (Routledge, 2019).

    "Field philosophy’ promises – and delivers – nothing less than philosophy’s return to its pre-academic roots as reflective being in the world. What is most striking about the philosophers assembled in this volume is that they would probably be in violent disagreement over many purely technical philosophical issues, yet they are all capable of turning their philosophical skills to the greater common good."

    --Steve Fuller, University of Warwick


    "At least since the 1980s efforts have been made in various quarters of the English-speaking philosophical community to break free from the Western model of academic specialization and detachment. This volume adds new dimensions to the project, going deeper in conceptualization (the theory of field philosophy), broader in reach (from science and engineering to design, fracking, addiction, and human trafficking), and more expansive in participants (33 from North and South America and Europe)."

    --Carl Mitcham, Renmin University of China