WTMC PhD Summer School ‘Epistemic Corruption’ 23-27 August 2021 with Sergio Sismondo

Date: August 23, 2021 until August 27, 2021
Time: 12:00 AM - 11:59 PM

Vergader- en Conferentiecentrum Soeterbeeck
Elleboogstraat 2
5352 LP Deursen-Dennenburg

From 23-27 August 2021 WTMC will organize the PhD Summer School ‘Epistemic Corruption’ with anchor teacher Sergio Sismondo.

Epistemic Corruption

Knowledge production is associated with particular values and standards (truth, objectivity, impartiality, etc), and failure to conform to these are often prominently condemned as corruption of the scientific endeavour. ‘Corruption’ is used in a number of different senses, always pejoratively. The term is typically connected to accusations that actions, practices or institutions have become rotten or infected, failing to meet particular ideals or failing to perfectly reproduce past standards. In this summer school, we will examine epistemic corruption as closely related to issues of social order, especially social order within knowledge-producing communities, but also social order in knowledge-consuming communities. As such, epistemic corruption is not necessarily bound up with the moral failings of individual actors: People tend to think of corruption in moral terms, and as a result would think of epistemic corruption as involving immoral influences on the production of compromised knowledge.

True to STS sensibilities, we will, unlike the vast majority of research on corruption in most disciplines, recognize that actors do not necessarily agree on what constitutes corruption or which practices are cases of it. Therefore, we will balance between actors’ (emic or etic) and analysts’ (etic) understandings of corruption – recognizing that they do not always explicitly use the term ‘corruption’ – and balance between normative and non-normative understandings. This exploration of epistemic corruption will feed a reflection on how aspirations and failings of knowledge production are constituted.

Sergio Sismondo does research in Science and Technology Studies at intersections of philosophy and sociology of science. Recently he has been studying the nature and distribution of pharmaceutical research, seeing this as a project in the political economy of knowledge. In addition to many articles, he is the author of Ghost-Managed Medicine: Big Pharma’s Invisible Hands (Mattering, 2018), An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies (2nd edition Wiley-Blackwell, 2010),  and co-author with physicist Boris Castel of The Art of Science (Broadview, 2003). Sismondo is currently editor of the journal Social Studies of Science, one of the flagship journals in Science and Technology Studies.

More information will follow.