Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 12-30-2018


Conceptual systematization


Philosophy of Science


Participants in debates about developments in science and technology point to issues overlooked or downplayed by scientists—or, if the debate is among scientists themselves, by other scientists. Sometimes included among participants in debates are interpreters of science—sociologists, historians, philosophers, and scholars from other fields of Science and Technology Studies. Taking these scholars as the audience, this article asks what should we do if we identify a significant issue not yet subject to debate? In particular, what should we do when the overlooked issue is conceptual—a matter of how inquiry is framed—more than it is a matter of analyzing the evidence or applying the results? I address the title question in-principle, but my thinking is informed by the range of ways I have been working to influence research related to a specific case (summarized in an appendix). I do not argue for particular actions or provide a how-to guide; my goal rather is to promote more systematic attention to the mostly implicit models that scholars interpreting science have regarding their aspirations and strategies for influencing science.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.