Ideology in science and philosophy

People differ in many aspects of their identity, like their gender and ethnicity. They also differ in their ideological viewpoints. They hold different beliefs about the proper order of society and how it can be achieved. Some people are politically liberal, others are politically conservative. Some are anarchists, others are libertarians, and so on.

Not all of these groups are equally well represented in academia. Recently there has been much discussion on liberal/conservative diversity and bias in psychology, sociology, and the political sciences. We build on this debate. The goal of this project is to determine the epistemic impact that ideological viewpoint diversity has on academia in general, and on philosophy in particular. We focus on philosophy of science since that is the domain we know best ourselves.

The project does not have a normative or ideological agenda of its own. It is descriptive in nature and aims to focus on the epistemological issues pertaining to ideological diversity and bias. More specifically, we aim to find out three things. First, the empirical facts of the distribution of liberals/conservatives in philosophy and whether there exists a bias. Secondly, the epistemic implications of ideological demographics and biases. And thirdly, the similarities and differences of the epistemic implications of viewpoint diversity compared to more familiar kinds of diversity and biases (e.g. sexist, racist, ableist, heteronormative).

This project is carried out at the Centre for Logic and Philosophy of Science (CLPS) of KU Leuven. More information about this project and the people involved can be found on the project’s website here.