Philosophers as Mediators: the Case of Econophysics


Seamus Bradley


Philosophy can help clarify the role science plays and should play in a democratic society, and the role that values play within science. This is so due to philosophers’ big-picture thinking and their ability to work at the interface between the worlds of science and policy. That same set of skills is also needed in well-functioning interdisciplinary science, and philosophers can also play a valuable role here. I shall discuss a case study of how philosophy can mediate disputes about the validity of an exercise in interdisciplinary modelling: econophysics. In all three cases — clarifying the role of science in democracy, clarifying the role of values in science, and mediating interdisciplinary methodological disputes — the intellectual midwifery of philosophy serves to make science work better in the context of a democratic society.